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Fact Check-Belgrade protest was held in response to violence against anti-mining activists

A photo of crowds marching through Belgrade has been used on social media to suggest it shows a protest over COVID-19 measures.

One Britain-based Facebook user who in the past has posted misinformation about COVID-19, uploaded the photo on Nov. 29, writing in the caption: “Apparently this also never happened” (here).

She added in the comments: “Just the media pretending it didn’t happen.”

The post has since garnered 100 reactions, along with dozens of shares.

However, the photo has been posted without context – and could therefore be misleading. It shows the second day of demonstrations in Serbia on the weekend of Nov. 27-28 and is not related to COVID-19.

On Nov. 27, hundreds of environmental protesters blocked major roads in Serbia to protest against two new laws that they said would give free rein to foreign mining companies in the country. See Reuters reporting here and local reporting here.

In the northern city of Novi Sad, organisers said several activists were detained after scuffles with police, while in the western city of Sabac, plain-clothed men attacked activists with clubs.

This was to force them to open the road for buses carrying supporters of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party, who were travelling to a convention in Belgrade.

In response to the violence and detentions, protesters marched again on Nov. 28 (here , here and here).

The original Facebook photo was captured by a Serbian photographer, who also uploaded the picture to the platform here and here, along with metadata to confirm the time and date.

The exact location of the camera angle on Svetogorska Street in Belgrade can be seen here: bit.ly/3I6Im84.

VERDICT

Misleading. The photo was captured in protest over violence and detentions of anti-mining activists.

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

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