FACT CHECK: No, This Photo Does Not Show Protesters In Ottawa

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook over 400 times allegedly shows a crowd in Ottawa, Canada, during the “Freedom Convoy” protests in January 2022.

Verdict: False

The photo shows a protest that occurred in Moscow in 1991, not a recent gathering in Ottawa.

Fact Check:

An estimated 5,000 to 18,000 protesters gathered Jan. 29 in Ottawa to protest against COVID-19 rules, including a vaccination mandate for truckers crossing the U.S.-Canada border, according to CBC. Truckers who participated drove cross-country in what has been dubbed the “Freedom Convoy,” CNN reported. Such demonstrations continued into Wednesday, according to CTV News.

An image uploaded to Facebook on Jan. 31 depicts a massive crowd of people gathered in an open space, with some waving banners in the air. The post identifies it as a scene in Ottawa but does not list the exact date the photo was taken. (RELATED: Does This Image Show Amish Buggies On Their Way To Join The Canadian Trucker Convoy?)

The picture predates the COVID-19 pandemic by many years and was not taken in Canada. The image was taken by photographer Dominique Mollard for the Associated Press in March 1991 in Moscow. It shows a group of approximately 500,000 people protesting against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and other communist leaders, according to the outlet.

Similar images from protests in January and March of 1991 can be found on Getty Images, with USA Today identifying the location as Manezhnaya Square in Moscow, next to the Kremlin. None of the images make reference to Ottawa or Canada in general.

Getty Images posted a variety of photos from the recent demonstrations in Ottawa, which show a smaller crowd than the one in the Facebook post. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged those participating in the protests to “go home,” according to BBC News.

Check Your Fact previously corrected a false rumor stemming from a similar photo that falsely claimed to show a November 2021 demonstration in Vienna, Austria, against COVID-19 lockdowns.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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