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Fact check: Metal bar hanging from Scottish overpass is not part of an antifa plot

Shared largely in the U.S., social media posts show an image of an object hanging from an overpass with the caption “ANTIFA is hanging chains with metal object from light poles and over passes, targeting truckers, they want to shut this nation down.” The image is actually from Scotland and has nothing to do with antifa.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

Examples of such posts can be found here , here , and here .  

Shared more than 25,000 times on Facebook, the image actually shows a months-old incident in Inverness, a city in the Scottish Highlands. As reported by the BBC on April 1, 2020: “Police have appealed for information after a metal bar on a piece of rope was left dangling in the path of vehicles on the A9 in the Highlands. The bar was hanging from a foot bridge over the road at the Raigmore Interchange (  here  ). More information on the incident, in which no anti-fascist groups have been implicated, can be found here .  

Posts showing the image and the claim that antifa “want to shut this nation down” are circulating among U.S. users as some states shut down businesses and schools while others reopen amid soaring coronavirus cases and hospitalizations (  here  ).  

Over the past several weeks, President Donald Trump and his allies have sought to blame left-wing extremists for the violence and looting at U.S. protests over police brutality while local authorities and watchdog groups have pointed to the threat posed by right-wing movements (  here  ). Antifa, short for “anti-fascist,” is an amorphous movement whose adherents oppose people or groups they consider authoritarian or racist, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which monitors extremists.  

Last month, Attorney General William Barr promised a crackdown on members of antifa and other “extremists” he blamed for helping to drive violence during nationwide protests. But a Reuters examination of federal court records related to the charges, social media posts by some of the suspects and interviews with defense lawyers and prosecutors found mostly disorganized acts of violence by people who have few obvious connections to antifa or other left-wing groups (  here  ). 

The Reuters Fact Check team has previously debunked claims about antifa circulating on social media, including a fake antifa Twitter account calling for violence (  here  ), false claims that billionaire philanthropist George Soros owned antifa and Black Lives Matter and was paying protesters (  here  ), and false claims that antifa was sending messages to U.K. pubs to change their names due to racist connotations (  here  ). 

VERDICT

False. The image of a metal object hanging from an overpass was taken in the Scottish Highlands. It has been mislabeled by some social media users to suggest it is part of an antifa plot to target truckers and keep the U.S. economy from reopening.

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

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