Fact Check-Widely shared photo does not show anti-lockdown demonstrations on Bondi Beach

Social media users have miscaptioned an image by claiming it shows an anti-lockdown protest on an Australian beach, whereas it actually shows crowds on Brazil’s Copacabana beach in 2013.

The photo, shared on social media as a screenshot of a Facebook post, is claimed to show 1 million people demonstrating on Bondi beach against COVID-19 restrictions in Sydney.

“Authorities are overwhelmed,” the screenshotted user writes. (here , here , here and here).

Thousands of people marched in Melbourne and Sydney on Aug. 21 against respective state and citywide lockdowns, resulting in hundreds of arrests, and injuries to seven police officers (here).

However, the image used in the Facebook screenshot does not depict Bondi beach in 2021; rather, it shows Copacabana beach in Brazil in 2013.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer Tasso Marcelo captured the original photo, which pictures throngs gathered on the Rio de Janeiro seafront to celebrate a Mass delivered by Pope Francis (here).

According to the AFP photo caption, 3 million people were expected to attend.


Miscaptioned. The image shows crowds gathering to celebrate Mass delivered by Pope Francis in Brazil in 2013. It has nothing to do with Australia’s pandemic and anti-lockdown protests.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.