FACT CHECK: Did BBC News Report That 350 People Attended A May 29 Protest In London?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a BBC News report about 350 people attending a London protest on May 29.

Verdict: False

The picture of the BBC News broadcaster dates back to 2020 and has been digitally altered to mention the protest in the chyron. The image of the crowd predates the May 29 demonstration.

Fact Check:

Protesters against COVID-19 vaccines and lockdowns gathered in London on May 29, with some protesters marching into a shopping mall and forcing it to shut down, according to Sky News. The Guardian estimated that there were “tens of thousands” of protesters.

In the days since the demonstration, social media users have been sharing an image that purportedly shows a BBC News chyron below broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire that reads, “An estimated 350 people marched through London today in protest over Covid restrictions and vaccines.” Also included in the image is a photo of a large crowd, seemingly suggesting it depicts the May 29 protest in London.

Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found the screen grab of Derbyshire anchoring dates back to April 2020 and has been digitally altered. The chyron actually reported on the birth of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and wife Carrie Johnson’s son, Wilfred.

Check Your Fact didn’t find any instances of BBC News reporting on the crowd size at the May 29 protest in London on its website or verified Twitter account. A wider internet search for such BBC News reporting did not yield any results either.

Derbyshire also took to Twitter on June 1 to debunk the image. (RELATED: Did The BBC Air This Chyron Reporting Bobi Wine Will Be Sworn In As Uganda’s President?)

“This photoshopped, fake image is doing the rounds,” she tweeted. “1. I wasn’t working on Saturday 2. That’s not the BBC News Channel’s font 3. I haven’t worn that dress since last summer (wld love to meet/int whoever took time/trouble to put this image together – plse do DM in confidence).”

The photo of the large crowd appears to predate the May 29 protest. Aurora Intel, a website that describes itself as being dedicated to “providing quick and accurate news on Twitter,” tweeted that it could be found in a “QAnon Russia video.”

 

Aurora Intel directed Check Your Fact to the video on the Russian social media platform VK, where it was posted 18 days before the May 29 protest. One Instagram user shared a video seemingly showing the same scene as the one in the post making the claim back in April, about a month before the May 29 demonstration.

The image of the large crowd appears to show a street in London, as the TK Maxx store and other buildings visible in it closely resemble those located on this London street on Google Maps.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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