FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show A March 2021 Anti-Lockdown Demonstration In London?
An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a march against COVID-19 lockdowns that was held in London March 20.
The image actually shows a Brexit-related event in March 2019.
Up to 10,000 people gathered in London on March 20 to march in protest against lockdowns and other COVID-19 mitigation measures, according to Reuters. Police said 13 arrests were made for COVID-19 regulation violations during the event, the outlet reported.
In the days following the March 20 protest, social media users have been sharing an aerial photo showing crowds filling city streets. “Mainstream media says ‘hundreds’ were on the streets of London yesterday, marching to say no more lockdowns, end this nonsense,” the caption of one such post reads. “This aerial photograph provides evidence of the real number of people standing up for freedom.”
However, the photo predates the COVID-19 pandemic. Taken from a helicopter, it actually shows crowds gathered on March 23, 2019, for a march to call for another referendum on the U.K.’s departure from the European Union, also known as “Brexit,” according to a March 2019 BBC News article. The picture also appeared in a BBC News Japan story and BBC News Mundo story talking about the Brexit march.
The Associated Press published aerial footage from a different angle on YouTube in March 2019 showing “hundreds of thousands of people gathered in central London on Saturday for a massive march in favour of a second Brexit referendum.” (RELATED: Does This Photo Show A Protest Against COVID-19 Restrictions In Romania?)
The U.K. government’s website states that England is “still in a national lockdown” as of March 25. Some rules are scheduled to change on March 29, including people then being permitted to meet outdoors in a group of six from multiple households or in a group of any size from two or fewer households, the U.K. government’s website says.