FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show A Protest Against COVID-19 Restrictions In Romania?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a large crowd protesting against COVID-19 restrictions in Romania.

Verdict: False

The image, which dates back to 2017, actually shows Romanians protesting against a decree about certain corruption offenses. It is unrelated to COVID-19 restrictions.

Fact Check:

Protests against government measures aiming to help curb the spread of COVID-19 have taken place in cities across the world. This particular Facebook post, which features a photo of a massive crowd at night, claims to show one such protest that occurred in Romania.

“Protests in Romania against ᏨṎvḭᕍ restrictions,” reads the text accompanying the photo. “Why isn’t the media talking about this? Everyone is learning the TRUTH! We are being lied too!” (RELATED: Does This Photo Show People In Berlin Protesting Against Coronavirus Restrictions?)

While the picture is real, it does not show a demonstration against COVID-19 restrictions. A reverse image search revealed the photo has been circulating online since at least 2017, well before the novel coronavirus first emerged. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 first surfaced in late 2019, according to a pandemic timeline from The New York Times.

EUobserver editor-in-chief Koert Debeuf and political scientist Ian Bremmer tweeted the same photo on Feb. 5, 2017, with captions indicating it was taken in Bucharest that night. At the time, Romanians were protesting a decree that aimed to decriminalize some corruption offenses, according to TIME Magazine.

The photo being shared online appears to show a crowd gathered near Victory Square in the Romanian capital city of Bucharest. Similar pictures and videos showing a massive crowd gathered in the square on the night of Feb. 5, 2017, can be found in news reports about protests against the decree, which was later withdrawn.

While the photo doesn’t show a Romanian protest against coronavirus restrictions, there have been demonstrations against the country’s COVID-19 mitigation measures. For instance, some Romanians protested in September against social distancing and the use of face masks in schools, according to the Associated Press.

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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