FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show A Protest Against COVID-19 Lockdowns In Austria?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

A picture shared on Facebook purportedly shows a recent anti-lockdown protest in Vienna, Austria.

Verdict: False

The picture shows a protest that occurred in Russia in 1991, not a recent protest in Austria.

Fact Check:

The Austrian government announced last week that it would be implementing a national lockdown and a vaccine mandate in response to record-high COVID-19 cases in the country, according to the Associated Press. This news prompted 40,000 protesters to gather in Vienna, the country’s capital, over the weekend to attend a rally in opposition to the lockdown and mandate, The New York Times reported.

One image shared on Facebook on Nov. 21 shows a large crowd gathered in a public square allegedly in Vienna. “Austria Rises,” reads the caption. “This is Vienna, Austria today opposing Lockdown!”

Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact discovered the picture was actually taken during a 1991 protest in Moscow, Russia. It can be found on AP Images. (RELATED: Does This Image Show A Protest Against Italy’s COVID-19 Health Pass?)

“Hundreds of thousands of protesters pack Moscow’s Manezh Square next to the Kremlin, Sunday, March 10, 1991, demanding the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and his fellow Communists give up power,” reads the image’s caption. “The crowd, estimated at 500,000 was the biggest anti-government demonstration in the 73 years since the Communists took power, and came a week before the nationwide referendum on Gorbachev’s union treaty.”

The same photo can be found in an article published by The Atlantic, which verifies the circumstances of the protest. The demonstration pictured is one of several anti-government protests that occurred across the former Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, according to Radio Free Europe.

Images and videos from the recent protest in Vienna can be found in articles published by Reuters and Business Insider.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter


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