FACT CHECK: Do These Images Show Australian Protesters Who Were Hit With Rubber Bullets?

Mecca Fowler | Contributor

An image shared on Twitter purports to show three pictures of Australian protestors who were hit with rubber bullets.

Verdict: False

The images show protesters who were shot with rubber bullets in other countries. All three images predate the recent protests in Australia.

Fact Check:

Construction workers in Melbourne, Australia who disagreed with a recent COVID-19 vaccine mandate issued by the state government clashed with police during protests against the mandate on Sept. 21, according to The New York Times. Riot police fired rubber bullets at the protestors and more than 200 people were arrested, The Guardian reported.

Amid the protests, a tweet purporting to show three images of wounds caused by rubber bullets fired at Australian protesters surfaced on Twitter. “Rubber bullets used on freedom protesters in Melbourne, Australia by the police,” reads text included in the image.

The tweet, however, is inaccurate. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found all three images originate from protests in other countries. (RELATED: Did 7News Report That Australian Government Is Putting All Citizens Who Remain Unvaccinated By The End Of The Year Into ‘Isolation Camps’?)

The first image shows wounds on a man’s back and can be traced to a 2015 protest in Argentina. It was featured in a December 2015 Spanish-language Associated Press story about protests near Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The second image shows a woman holding up a shirt to reveal a round wound on her stomach. It is included in a 2014 Huff Post article that explains the woman is a pastor named Renita Lamkin who was hit with a rubber bullet while attending the protests that erupted in Ferguson, Missouri after the fatal police shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown in 2014.

The final image showing a bloody wound on a woman’s head is related to a 2020 protest in Louisville, Kentucky. The image can be found in a September 2020 article from WHAS11, an ABC affiliate network. The article identifies the woman as Shannyn White and explains she was protesting the police killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky in May 2020 when she was shot in the head with a rubber bullet.

Cities across Australia are bracing for more protests as various COVID-19 vaccination requirement deadlines approach, Sky News reported.

Mecca Fowler