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German anti far-right demonstration misrepresented as pro-Palestinian rally

German anti far-right demonstration misrepresented as pro-Palestinian rally - Featured image

Author(s): Daniel GALGANO / AFP USA

Rallies have been held around the world to call for a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas. But footage of a massive demonstration in the German city of Hamburg has been falsely linked to support for Palestinians — it was actually filmed at a January 2024 protest against the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

“Hamburg, Germany The whole world stands with Palestine,” says the text of one post on X, formerly Twitter, published on February 9, 2024.

Screenshot from X taken on February 14, 2024

The post accumulated tens of thousands of interactions. The same footage and claim circulated elsewhere on X, Facebook, TikTok and Instagram.

Most of the clips contain the logo of a podcast called Deep Shallow Dive, which posted the footage on its Instagram page on February 1, 2024, with no mention of the reason for the rally. The podcast regularly posts anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian claims on its social media accounts.

Four days later, the same account shared a compilation video including similar footage of the Hamburg protest with the caption: “It seems the German people have united under their support for the self-determination for the Palestinians.”

The posts come amid continued fighting in Gaza after the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023 resulted in the death of more than 1,160 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

More than 28,700 Palestinians, mostly women and children have been killed in Israel’s assault on the Palestinian territory, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

In October, Hamburg saw pro-Palestinian demonstrations, but city lawmakers adopted a temporary ban on the protests over concerns that they could glorify violence and acts of terrorism. However, an administrative court later overturned the ban and police began allowing the gatherings in December.

The footage being shared online is unrelated to the war.

A reverse image search revealed similar aerial footage from the German television news program Tagesschau taken at a January 19 protest against the AfD party, which is second in national polls and leading in several eastern regions. The Hamburger Senat also posted aerial photos of the demonstrations.

Other social media posts also featured the same or similar footage, attributing it to the anti-AfD demonstrations (archived here, here and here).

Screenshot from Instagram taken on February 14, 2024, with elements outlined by AFP
Screenshot from Tagesschau news footage taken on February 14, 2024, with elements outlined by AFP

Around 50,000 people joined the January 19, 2024 protest in Hamburg, according to police. The event was organized in response to reports that members from the AfD discussed expelling immigrants and “non-assimilated citizens” at a meeting with extremists.

Activists organized protests in German cities including Berlin, Cologne and Leipzig under the banner of “together against the far-right,” with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock joining a spontaneous demonstration in Potsdam.

A group of pro-Palestinian protestors reportedly attempted to join a German anti-AfD event, but were asked to leave by other demonstrators.

A group of protesters with banners and placards demonstrating against Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Berlin on January 17, 2024 – CHRISTIAN MANG

Other social media users have falsely claimed that the Hamburg protest was a part of ongoing demonstrations by German farmers over plans to cut agricultural subsidies.

AFP has previously debunked other false claims revolving around the Israel-Hamas war.

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Originally published here.