FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show Police In Italy Showing Solidarity With Protestors In March 2021?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows police in Turin, Italy showing solidarity with protesters on March 20, 2021.

Verdict: False

The footage dates back to 2013 and appears to show police during an Italian protest against austerity measures.

Fact Check:

Protests against COVID-19 restrictions occurred in various cities in Europe the weekend of March 20, according to NBC Montana. Such demonstrations took place in countries including Italy, Bulgaria, Germany, Sweden and the U.K., the local news outlet reported.

Some social media users shared a video of police removing their helmets as the crowd around them cheers, suggesting it shows Italian police “standing down in solidarity” with the anti-lockdown protesters. Based on buildings visible in the footage, it appears to have been filmed in Piazza Castello in Turin, Italy, which can be seen in a Google Maps street view.

The caption for one March 20 Facebook post sharing the video reads, “Turin(italy)20.03.2021:Police shows solidarity with the people,” while another March 21 caption says, “Yesterday in Italy: the police removed their masks and stood with the PEOPLE.” (RELATED: Does This Image Show A March 20 Protest Against COVID-19 Restrictions In Montreal?)

In reality, the video predates the COVID-19 pandemic and the March 2021 “Worldwide Rally for Freedom” protests by several years. The Italian newspaper il Fatto Quotidiano posted a longer version of the video on YouTube on Dec. 9 2013, with the title roughly translating to: “Turin, policemen after clashes take off their helmets: people in the square applaud.”

Organized by the populist “Pitchfork” movement, protests against austerity and other economic measures took place throughout Italy in early December 2013, BBC News reported. Il Fatto Quotidiano on Dec. 9, 2013, published additional footage of “Pitchfork” protesters in Piazza Castello in an article written by Cosimo Caridi, the same journalist credited with taking the video on YouTube.

BBC News reported in December 2013 that Italian police had taken off their riot helmets in several locations where the “Pitchfork” protests occurred. Italian media outlets published photos of the police not wearing their helmets at the time, according to the outlet. The Financial Times also reported on an instance of police in Italy removing their helmets during an anti-austerity protest in December of that year.

Photos of Italians protesting against austerity measures in December 2013 can be found on Getty Images.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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