FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Fatalities From Recent Protests In Myanmar?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on social media purportedly shows the bodies of people presumably killed during March protests in Yangon, Myanmar.

Verdict: False

The image shows the aftermath of a deadly landslide in northern Myanmar in July 2020. It is not connected to recent protests in the country.

Fact Check:

The black-and-white image shows what appears to bodies laid out on the floor of an open-sided structure. Facebook and Twitter users have shared the image, saying, “Wish this photo was a fake one. Sadly … this was from Yangon 15/03/21.”

Myanmar’s military declared martial law in parts of Yangon, the country’s largest city, as protests against last month’s military coup continued, the Associated Press reported March 15. At least 149 people have been killed in Myanmar amid security forces cracking down on the anti-coup demonstrations, according to the United Nations (U.N.).

While the U.N. did report at least 11 people were killed in Myanmar on March 15, the same date the image was allegedly taken, the picture is not connected to the pro-democracy protests. A reverse image search of a colorized version of the photo reveals it was first shared in July 2020, months before the anti-coup demonstrations in Yangon broke out.

Two July 2020 articles, one written in Burmese and one written in English, included the photo in reporting about victims of a deadly landslide that occurred in Hpakant, a town in Myanmar’s Kachin state. The landslide at the jade mining site last year killed over 170 people, according to the Associated Press.

One image shared on Shutterstock appears to show another angle of the same open-sided structure in the Facebook post. The caption reads, “At least 172 people killed in massive landslide at jade mine in northern Myanmar, Hpakant.” (RELATED: Does This Image Show Dogs Killed By The Myanmar Military?)

Photos from the pro-democracy protests in Myanmar can be found on the Getty Images and Reuters Pictures websites.

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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