FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show Brazilians Resisting Coronavirus Restrictions At The Beach?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

A video shared on Instagram purportedly shows dozens of Brazilian beachgoers resisting the efforts of police to “close down the beach due to Covid19 (sic) restrictions.”

Verdict: False

The video of the confrontation between Brazilian authorities and beachgoers dates back to 2012, years before the novel coronavirus first emerged. It is unrelated to COVID-19 restrictions.

Fact Check:

The blurry video shows men wearing white tank tops, some carrying batons, as they force their way through a crowd on a beach. At one point, some of the men in the white tank tops appear to wrestle someone to the ground while the surrounding people shout.

“Brazil Police try close down the beach due to Covid19 (sic) restrictions, met with Absolute Fury by The People,” reads the Instagram caption. “This is what’s needed, don’t allow illegitimate Restrictions to dictate your LIFE. Long Live Freedom.”

Check Your Fact found a YouTube video – titled “BEACH FIGHT 345 VS 20 – RIO DE JANEIRO 2012!!!!! COPACABANA!!!!!!” – appearing to show the same confrontation from a different angle that was posted in October 2012. A longer, higher-quality version of the Instagram footage was also shared on YouTube in 2012, with its Portuguese title roughly translating to “Fight on ipanema beach 2 days after mayor Eduardo Paes is re-elected – HD,” a keyword search revealed.

Both Copacabana and Ipanema Beach are located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Media reports about the 2012 beach incident clarify that municipal guards in Rio de Janeiro were attempting to break up a game of altinho, a hacky sack-like game prohibited on the beach before a certain time.

Since the footage dates back to 2012, it is impossible for the scene depicted in it to be related to COVID-19 restrictions. COVID-19 first emerged in China in late 2019. (RELATED: Viral Image Caims To Show Raleigh, North Carolina Beach)

Rio de Janeiro closed its beaches in late March in an effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19, and the beaches remained so as of April 9, according to Reuters. At the time of publication, Brazil has the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases and the second-highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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