FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A Madrid Protest Against COVID-19 Restrictions?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows a large crowd gathered in Madrid, Spain, to protest against COVID-19 restrictions.

Verdict: False

The video, filmed in 2019, shows a protest in Madrid against the prime minister’s plans to talk with Catalan separatists.

Fact Check:

Madrid and other Spanish cities have seen several protests against COVID-19 restrictions in the last year, according to Reuters. A Feb. 20 Facebook post features a video allegedly showing one of those protests in Madrid.

The video shows thousands of people gathered closely in Madrid’s Colón plaza and extending down the street. Loud music is playing and many people appear to be waving Spanish flags. “Protest in Madrid against COVID19 restrictions BRAVO,” the video’s caption reads. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show People In Berlin Protesting Against Coronavirus Restrictions?)

The video, however, predates the COVID-19 pandemic. A reverse image search of key frames from the 28-second video reveals it was first shared in February 2019 and depicts a protest against the Spanish government’s plan to hold talks with Catalan separatists. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 first surfaced in late 2019.

Catalonia, a northeastern region of Spain, has been fighting for independence from Spain for years and has held several pro-independence demonstrations since an October 2017 independence referendum was banned, BBC News reported.

Spanish newspaper El Periódico shared the same 28-second video on Feb. 10, 2019 with a headline that translates to, “Demonstration against Pedro Sánchez this morning in Plaza Colón in Madrid.” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez initiated the 2019 plan to talk with the Catalan separatists, a move that angered political conservatives in the country who favor a united Spain, according to BBC News.

Spanish politician Pedro J. Cabrera Rentero also shared a similar video on Facebook on Feb. 10, 2019 with a caption that translates to, “Today civil society has gathered in Madrid to demand the unity of Spain from the Government. We are already fed up with the continuous transfers to those who want to break our country in exchange for extending Pedro Sánchez’s stay in Moncloa for a few more months. We want to vote now!” Moncloa is the official workplace and residence of the Spanish prime minister, according to the building’s website.

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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