FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A Water Cannon Being Used On Protesters In South Africa?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook allegedly shows South African protesters being hit with a water cannon.

Verdict: False

The video, which dates back to 2017, shows Venezuelan protesters being hit with a water cannon.

Fact Check:

The 18-second video shows a group of protesters, some wearing helmets and carrying shields, being blasted and scattered by a water cannon from a nearby armored vehicle. The caption reads, “A water cannon for riots in South Africa.”

Rioting and looting recently broke out in parts of South Africa after former President Jacob Zuma started serving his 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court, according to The Wall Street Journal. The South African military has been deployed to quell the unrest that has left over 70 dead, according to CNN.

While water cannons have, according to Eyewitness News and News24, reportedly been used on protesters in South Africa, the video was not taken during the current unrest there. The video dates back to at least 2017, with it being posted on Twitter with a caption indicating it was filmed in Venezuela.

“Rioters vs. Watercanons (sic),” reads the tweet’s caption. “Venezuelan protesters are cleaned up by a water cannon from China as artillery for the violent anti-gov riots!”

The version of the video in the 2017 tweet contains a watermark for the video-sharing website LiveLeak. LiveLeak has since shut down, according to The Verge. (RELATED: Are White South Africans Banned From Receiving Government Aid During The COVID-19 Pandemic?)

AFP News Agency posted a different angle of the same incident on YouTube in May 2017, with the description saying, “Clashes erupted Wednesday between riot police and opposition protesters in Caracas, as 3,000 protesters headed for the Supreme Court, whose bid on April 1 to strengthen Maduro’s grip on power by stripping authority from the legislature launched a wave of protests and deadly unrest.”

Venezuelans had frequent demonstrations across the country in protest of President Nicolas Maduro and his government in 2017, according to The Atlantic. Over 100 people in Venezuela died in four months amid the anti-government protests, BBC News reported that year.

In the video of the protesters being hit with a water cannon, at least one of them is carrying a shield decorated with the colors of the Venezuelan flag: yellow, blue and red. Images and videos from the 2017 Venezuelan protests show extremely similar interactions between protesters and authorities with water cannons. For instance, protesters carrying shields can be seen squaring off against the white armored vehicles of the Venezuelan National Guard in one video shared on YouTube by the Russian video news agency Ruptly.

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
Follow Brad on Twitter Have a fact check suggestion? Send ideas to [email protected]

Trending

FACT CHECK: Did The CDC Say PCR Tests Do Not Distinguish Between COVID-19 And The Flu?
FACT CHECK: Did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Tweet That It's Time To 'Roundup All Conservative Traitors'?
FACT CHECK: Is This Graphic Listing The '7 Biggest Brain Damaging Habits' From The WHO?
FACT CHECK: Is Kayleigh McEnany JFK's Granddaughter?