FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show An Italian Police Officer Upset Over The Use Of Water Cannons On Green Pass Protesters?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Twitter purportedly shows an Italian police officer upset over the use of water cannons on Italians protesting the country’s COVID-19 health pass known as the “Green Pass.”

Verdict: False

The video shows the outburst of a police officer in Bologna, Italy back in 2013. The man was frustrated with working conditions, not the use of water cannons on protesters, according to Italian media reports.

Fact Check: 

The 87-second video shared on Twitter shows an Italian police officer shouting and then throwing his helmet at a nearby parked vehicle in apparent frustration. Dozens of other police officers can be seen watching the man throughout his outburst.

“Italy, policeman throws off helmet in disgust at the sight of Water Cannons being used on public protesting against the green pass, that without, now won’t allow them to work,” reads the video’s caption.

The “Green Pass” mentioned in the post is a reference to the mandatory pass all Italians must now have in order to work, according to BBC News. The passes show that a person has either been vaccinated for COVID-19, tested negative for the virus or previously contracted it and recovered, the outlet reported. The implementation of the Green Pass requirement for workers in Italy on Oct. 15 sparked protests across the country, according to the Los Angeles Times

Water cannons and tear gas were deployed by Italian police to disperse Green Pass protesters in the Italian port city of Trieste on Oct. 18, according to Reuters. The same crowd control tools were also used on demonstrators protesting the pass in Rome on Oct. 9, the outlet reported.

The video shared on Twitter, however, has nothing to do with the recent protests. (RELATED: FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A Romanian Anti-COVID-19 Vaccine Protest?)

Check Your Fact found the same footage shared in a 2013 news article from the Italian news outlet Il Fatto Quotidiano whose title translates to: “The outburst of the policeman in the student parade.” The article explains the video was taken that year at a protest in Bologna, Italy, where 200 students, some carrying a sign that read “Nobody represents us,” threw red paint and eggs at banks and storefronts. The police officer’s outburst occurred after those students reached the Bolognese headquarters of the “Brothers of Italy,” a far-right Italian political party, and began throwing eggs, firecrackers and smoke bombs at the police officers defending it, the outlet reported. The officer featured in the video reportedly yelled, “You can’t work like this. Stop, stop!” before throwing his helmet.

This account of the video matches a report from the Italian news outlet La Repubblica about the 2013 protest. La Republicca quotes the upset officer as saying, “We can’t stand it anymore: they pull everything on us. We can’t work in these conditions. Demonstrating is right, but with respect.” Neither Il Fatto Quotidiano nor La Repubblica mentions the officer making any statement about the use of water cannons and tear gas.

Other videos of the protest and the student’s encounter with police can be found on YouTube and La Repubblica.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter


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