The claim: Image of large crowd shows vaccine passport protests in Trieste, Italy
Protests were held across Italy in mid-October as mandates went into effect that require COVID-19 vaccinations, proof of recovery from COVID-19 infection or regular testing for both public and private sector workers.
An image showing an enormous crowd on and around a bridge began circulating on social media. Users claimed it showed protests in Trieste, Italy, where thousands of people demonstrated against the worker vaccine mandate.
One Oct. 15 tweet identifying the image as part of the vaccine protest accumulated more than 2,000 retweets in a few days, though the poster later noted that was an inaccurate description. Another tweet from Oct. 16 accusing the media of hiding the event from the public was retweeted more than 400 times in a few days.
The claim also surfaced in an Oct. 15 Facebook post that identified it as a “massive anti-vaccine protest.”
USA TODAY reached out to the users for comment.
Image from a Swiss music festival
The photo actually shows the 2018 Street Parade music festival in Zurich. The annual festival, which bills itself as “the most colourful house and techno parade in the world,” draws hundreds of thousands of attendees and features a multitude of roving sound stages, according to the event’s webpage.
Photos of the 2018 Street Parade can also be found on the website, including images very similar to the one presented as being from the Italian protests.
Image has been linked to wrong events before
This image was previously fact-checked by USA TODAY in October 2020, when a social media post claimed it showed a Trump rally in Florida.
It was also fact-checked by the Australian Associated Press in August 2020, when it was wrongly presented as an image of Berlin protests against COVID-19 restrictions.
Our ruling: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that an image of a large crowd shows vaccine passport protests in Trieste, Italy. The image is authentic, but it shows a Swiss music festival, not an Italian protest.
Our fact-check sources
- Street Parade, accessed Oct. 19, Culture of Tolerance 2018
- Street Parade, accessed Oct. 19, When and Where
- Street Parade, accessed Oct. 19, About
- USA TODAY, Oct. 21, 2020, Fact check: Photo claiming to show large Trump rally in Florida is of Swiss music festival
- Australian Associated Press, Aug. 4, 2020, Photo of huge crowd isn’t from German anti-mask parade, it’s from a Swiss dance music party
- Associated Press, Oct. 15, Photo shows Swiss music festival, not recent Italian protest
- Google Maps, accessed Oct. 19, Image of bridge in Zurich
- Boom, Oct. 19,2018 Image of Swiss music fest shared as anti-vaccine protest in Italy
- Italian government website, accessed Oct. 19, What Covid-19 Green Certification is for (translated from Italian using Google Translate)
- BBC, Oct. 15, Covid: Wave of Italian protests against mandatory work pass
- Reuters, Oct. 18, Health pass protest continues at Italian port despite police water cannon, tear gas
- CNN, Oct. 15, Thousands protest as Italy’s Covid pass becomes mandatory for workers
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Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.