FactCheck Social Media

Photo of huge crowd isn’t from German anti-mask parade – it’s from a Swiss dance music party

2020-08-04 22:05:36

The Statement

After thousands of people marched in Berlin, Germany over that country’s measures to stop COVID-19, a number of Facebook posts claimed to show photos of huge crowds in attendance.

One example of the post, from an Australian Facebook user, started with the comment “How about growing a backbone Australia!” and used a news story copied from The Australian newspaper

The news story begins: “More than 20,000 people protesting against coronavirus measures marched on Brandenburg Gate and up to Tiergarten Park in Berlin overnight (AEST)”. Below the text is an aerial photo of a very large crowd of people massed across a city bridge over a waterway and along the banks on either side.

The post has been shared more than 750 times. The same image, claiming to be from the Germany protest, has been used in other posts such as here and has also been shared multiple times on Twitter including here and here

Screenshot of Facebook post
 A Facebook post claims a photograph shows crowds marching against COVID-19 restrictions in Berlin 

The Analysis

Large crowds did indeed gather in Berlin on Saturday, August 1 to protest against measures put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Germany but the photo in the post is not of those crowds, which were much smaller.

The march, which reportedly included violence against police and were attended by some people claiming the pandemic is a “false alarm”  drew between 17,000 to 20,000 people according to news reports. The marchers were criticised by Berlin’s mayor for not wearing masks or social distancing, and more than 130 people were arrested, according to Deutsche Welle news. 

There were also reports anti-vaccination and far-right groups were involved. 

However, a reverse image search of the photo in the post using Tineye reveals that the photo used on the Facebook post is not from the German protest but rather from a large music festival held in Switzerland in 2019. It is from a gallery of photos shot at a music festival called Street Parade held in Zurich, Switzerland in 2019. 

 Described as one of the world’s biggest house and techno events, Street Parade reportedly draws up to 1 million visitors a year to the festival.

A similar image taken at the same event is available on the Street Parade website in the multimedia gallery.

The 2019 event drew a crowd of 850,000 people according to organisers, many times more than the 20,000 estimated to be at the Berlin protest on the weekend. 

Street Parade
 A photo from huge dance music festival in Switzerland was presented as a photo of a Berlin protest. 

The Verdict

Based on the evidence, AAP FactCheck found the photo in the Facebook post is not a photograph of the protest march held in Berlin on August 1, 2020 and as such is misleading about the number of people who attended.

False – The primary claim of the content is factually inaccurate.

* AAP FactCheck is accredited by the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network, which promotes best practice through a stringent and transparent Code of Principles. https://aap.com.au/