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Image of Protests Against Communist Rule in Russia Shared as Recent Ottawa Protests

Dina Faisal Dina Faisal
11th February 2022
Image of Protests Against Communist Rule in Russia Shared as Recent Ottawa Protests
The photo was taken by Dominique Mollard (Facebook).

The Claim

A photo of 2 million protestors in Ottawa, Canada, opposing COVID1-9 vaccine mandates.

Emerging story

Social media users are sharing an image of a large crowd gathered in the street, claiming it was taken in Ottawa, Canada. According to users, the crowd is protesting the COVID-19 mandates and demanding their freedom. Some claim that there are 2 million people in the crowd; this claim has been shared in multiple languages, including Arabic.


Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar looked into the claim and discovered it to be false. The results of a reverse image search using Tineye confirmed that the image was old and had been uploaded to the internet as early as 2013. Further investigation revealed that the image was obtained from AP Images, as shown below.

A supporting image within the article body

The photo was taken on March 10, 1991. The photo was taken by photographer Dominique Mollard and submitted to AP in February 2012. It depicts protesters in Moscow's Manezh Square against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's rule. Furthermore, according to the website, the crowd was estimated to be half a million, rather than two million as some claims claimed. The city of Ottawa has a population of 934,243 people, so crowds in the millions are unlikely.

Truckers began protesting against a vaccine mandate that "requires drivers entering Canada to be fully vaccinated or face testing and quarantine requirements," as well as other health restrictions such as masks and lockdowns. According to Ottawa Police, residents and businesses have been subjected to "hatred, violence, and illegal acts". The demonstrations have been described as "volatile and very dangerous."

Based on these findings, Misbar confirms that the claim is false; the image depicts protestors in Moscow, Russia, opposing Communist rule, not a gathering in Ottawa, Canada. Furthermore, claiming that crowds in Ottawa exceeded 2 million is highly improbable, given that the city's total population is 934,243.

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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