Anti-government protests in Colombia peddled as pro-Palestine demonstration

By: Azra Ali
April 27 2024

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Anti-government protests in Colombia peddled as pro-Palestine demonstration

Screenshots of the viral post.(Source: X/Screenshot)


The Verdict False

The video shows protests against Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro and does not show people pro-Palestine protest.

Claim ID 25ca7bd8

What is the claim?

A video of an aerial view of a massive crowd has been circulating online with the claim that it shows pro-Palestine protests in Colombia. A social media user shared the viral video on X (formerly Twitter) with the caption, “Colombia rises for Palestine. But what does 6 months of protest teach you? You don't live in a democracy, and walking around shouting isn't enough.” An archive of the post can be accessed here. Archives of similar posts can be found here.

Screenshots of the viral posts.(Source: X/Screenshot)

The claim has been shared amid protests by students at Columbia University in New York who have been staging pro-Palestine demonstrations on campus. According to a report by The Guardian from April 24, several students were arrested for protesting. The report added that several campuses in New York have been witnessing pro-Palestine demonstrations led by students.

However, the viral video shows protests against the reform policies proposed by Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro in Colombia on April 21. It is not a pro-Palestine demonstration.

How did we verify this? 

On reverse image search, we found a YouTube video uploaded on April 21, which shows the now-viral video from the 0:22-second timestamp. The video titled in Spanish roughly translates to, “My God this is awesome, grand national march was a total success in Colombia and the world.” The video was shared by a YouTube channel named Manuel J Velez (archive here). According to his bio on X, Velez is a social media influencer and political activist based in Colombia. 

In the video, we can see people waving Colombian flags and holding banners with ‘Petro’ written on them. No Palestinian flag or banners related to the Israel-Palestine conflict can be seen anywhere in the video.

A keyword search on Colombia protests led us to reports by several media outlets stating that thousands of citizens protested against President Gustavo Petro on April 21.

According to a  Reuters report, thousands of  people marched in Bogota, Medellin, and Cali in Colombia on April 21 to protest against the “economic and social reforms being proposed by the leftist government of President Gustavo Petro.” The report stated that in the capital city of Bogota, around 70,000 people took to the roads, raising slogans such as “Out with Petro” and waving Colombia’s flags.

In a video report by France 24 titled, “Hundreds of thousands of Colombians protest President Petro's economic, social reforms” we see crowds of people waving Colombian flags and holding banners saying “Out Petro (translated from Spanish)” written on them. However, no Palestinian flags or banners related to it can be seen in the video.

It is to be noted while this is not a video of the pro-Palestine protests, protests in support of Palestine were held in Bogota in October 2023, shortly after the Israel-Gaza conflict began, according to a video report by Associated Press that showed visuals from these protests. According to a report by Al Jazeera from November 2, 2023, Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro condemned Israel's attacks on Gaza, calling it a "genocide."

The verdict 

The viral video shows recent anti-government protests in Colombia. The protests erupted against the reforms proposed by Colombia’s president and are unrelated to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Hence, we have marked the claim as false.

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