Fact check: Churchill statue defaced in London BLM protest, but social media posts show images from 2000 and 2010

Social media users have claimed two photos of a defaced Winston Churchill statue in the centre of London were taken during Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests this month. This is incorrect.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

The statue of the former British prime minister, which stands in Parliament Square, was pictured on June 7 with the words “Was a Racist” written across the base. ( here )

However, the photos used in the posts were not taken during the 2020 protests, but in demonstrations in 2000 and 2010.

The first photo, which has been shared with text suggesting it was taken during the June protests, shows heavy graffiti on the plinth of the statue ( here and here ).

According to stock photo agency Alamy, on whose website the image is available to buy, it shows the Churchill statue in Parliament Square during anti-capitalist May Day demonstrations in 2000 ( here ). The photo is credited to Janine Wiedel, and appears on her website with the same information ( here ).

The second photo shows people sitting on the plinth of the statue, and what appears to be someone urinating against it. Like the first, it has been shared with text claiming it was taken during the BLM protests ( here and here ).

It was actually taken during a demonstration against student tuition fees in December 2010, and was published in a Daily Mail article about the protest ( here ). The photograph is credited to Joanne Davidson, who captions the photo on her website as: “2010 student demonstrations in Parliament Square – a protester urinates on the statue of Winston Churchill” ( here ).


Although it is true that the Churchill statue in Parliament Square was daubed with graffiti during Black Lives Matter protests in June, the pictures used in the social media posts are from 2000 and 2010.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here. here