FACT CHECK: No, This Photo Does Not Show An Anti-Lockdown Protest On Bondi Beach

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

An image shared on Instagram purportedly shows a massive anti-lockdown protest on Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia.


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Verdict: False

The image shows people gathering on Copacabana Beach in Brazil for a 2013 Catholic mass with Pope Francis.

Fact Check:

Sydney, the Australian city in which Bondi Beach is located, extended on Aug. 20 its COVID-19 lockdown until Sept. 30, with a curfew and outdoor mask-wearing requirement also being implemented, the Associated Press reported. (RELATED: Did The Military Times Publish This Headline About COVID-19 Vaccines?)

A viral image claims in an Instagram post to show flocks of people gathered on the popular Australian beach to protest against COVID-19 lockdowns. Text inside the image reads, “Almost 1 million descend on iconic Bondi Beach to protest harsh Sydney lockdowns. Authorities overwhelmed.”

The photo, however, wasn’t taken in Australia and actually predates the COVID-19 pandemic by over six years. Taken by photographer Tasso Marcelo for the AFP, it shows people gathered on Rio De Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach on July 28, 2013, “as Pope Francis celebrates the final mass of his visit to Brazil,” according to its caption on Getty Images. An estimated three million people congregated for the service, BBC News reported.

Check Your Fact didn’t find any credible media reports about nearly a million people descending on Bondi Beach for a protest against lockdowns. Law enforcement stopped a planned protest against lockdowns from being held on July 31 by closing down the central district of Sydney, Reuters reported. Such demonstrations had previously happened in the city and elsewhere in Australia on July 24, according to NPR.

Anti-lockdown protests also occurred in Sydney and other Australian cities on Aug. 21, with over 250 demonstrators getting arrested nationwide, the Associated Press reported.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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