Police turn on their heels and run, pursued by a stone-throwing mob. That’s the tense scene captured in a video that has been circulating online since March 20. One caption claims the video was filmed during recent protests in Kenya, another in Senegal. However, this isn’t a recent video. It was already circulating online way back in January 2015 and has popped up on numerous occasions since – each time with people wrongly attributing it to a new event.
If you only have a minute:
- A video has been circulating online, with people claiming that it shows protesters in Kenya pushing back police during recent demonstrations.
- People have attributed the same video to several different events. A few recent posts claimed it showed protests in Ziguinchor, Senegal, in March 2023. However, people claimed in 2017 that it showed protesters in Turkey. Back in 2016, some claimed it showed protests in Venezuela, others that it showed migrants in Greece.
- Our team tracked down a post featuring this video from January 19, 2015 – the earliest instance we could find online. That post claimed the video showed protests against the former president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila. However, it isn’t possible to determine if these are the video’s true origins. But we know the video is old and thus is not depicting recent events.
Protests in Kenya, March 2023
A post from March 20 featuring this video claims that it shows protests in Kenya. On that day, there were clashes between security forces and opposition supporters, who have been organising weekly protests against inflation and the government. The clashes on March 20 turned deadly and at least one person died.
“Kenyan security running faster than Murifee on seeing rioters,” reads the caption on the video. Murifee is the name of a man running while being chased by a dog in another viral video.
The video has also been posted to YouTube along with a caption claiming that it shows supporters of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga chasing after the police.
Ugandan YouTube channel Salt Media also picked up the footage, broadcasting it during a debate over the recent protests in Kenya.
Our team ran the video through a tool called InVid WeVerify (check out this tutorial on how to use the programme). We discovered the video has popped up across the internet and has been associated with events all over the world over the past eight years or so. Our fact-checking colleagues at Africa Check came to the same conclusion.
For example, a post in French shared on March 20 claims the video shows what was going on “Today in Ziguinchor,” a village in Casamance, Senegal. This post alone has since garnered 134,000 views. There were indeed political protests in Ziguinchor on that day – tragically, one person was killed. However, the video is much older than that.
Taken out of context, over and over
The video has been popping up for years. Case in point: we found an article published back in 2017 by a Turkish media outlet about this same video. The mystified journalists concluded that its origins were unknown.
The video also appeared in Facebook posts in German posted back in August 2016. These posts claimed that the video showed “invaders”, a derogatory reference to people migrating to Europe.
And in June 2016, Spanish deputy Pablo Casado Blanco shared the same video, claiming that it showed a protest in Venezuela where the people clashed with “Chavez’s police”. He deleted his tweet the next day.
A video filmed in 2015 or earlier
The earliest instance of this video that we were able to find online was posted on a Congolese YouTube channel on January 19, 2015.
The video is captioned (in French), “In the face of determined youth, Kabila’s police retreat.” We didn’t find any earlier postings of this video. Other versions of the video posted online the same day say that it was filmed in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
On January 19, 2015, the Congolese police cracked down on protests against the revision of an electoral law that would allow then president Joseph Kabila to stay in power. Protests in Kinshasa that day were deadly, as our Observers reported at the time.
While it does seem likely that the video was indeed filmed during protests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo back in January 2015, we weren’t able to prove that with absolute certainty. The low resolution of the video makes it impossible to identify the uniforms worn by police.
However, it is clear that the footage is old and that it doesn’t show recent protests in Kenya or Senegal, as was claimed by a number of recent posts.
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