Video shows Canada protest against Iran's government, not Iranians 'celebrating supreme leader's death'
Following massive protests in Iran triggered by the death of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, a video was viewed tens of thousands of times in social media posts that claim it shows Iranians celebrating the death of the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The posts circulated as Khamenei made his first public comments since Amini's death, in which he accused arch-foes the United States and Israel of fomenting a wave of nationwide unrest. But the video in fact shows a protest in Canada's Ontario province against the Iranian regime. As of October 11, there have been no official reports that Khamenei has died.
"The whole of Iran celebrated 'Khamenei is dead!'" reads the caption of this Twitter video in simplified Chinese characters.
It has been viewed more than 32,000 times since it was published on October 3, 2022.
The 52-second clip appears to show dozens of people chanting on the street while waving Iranian flags.
Texts superimposed onto the video also in simplified Chinese translate as: "This country is having a nationwide celebration / It seems the big boss has died!"
The September 16 death of Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, 22, while in the custody of Iran's morality police has sparked a major wave of protests and a crackdown that has left dozens of demonstrators dead.
Amini, 22, died in Tehran three days after being arrested for allegedly violating Iran's strict dress code for women that demands they wear hijab headscarves and modest clothes.
At least 95 protesters have died in the crackdown, according to the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights.
The posts circulated as Khamenei made his first public comments since Amini's death, in which he accused arch-foes the United States and Israel of fomenting a wave of nationwide unrest, AFP reported.
However, the claim is false. The video was actually filmed in Canada during a protest against the Iranian government.
As of October 11, there have been no official reports that Khamenei has died.
A keyword search on YouTube found a slightly longer version of the same video published on YouTube here on October 1.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the video shared in the online posts (left) and the YouTube video (right):
Bearing the hashtag "IranProtests2022", the video is captioned: "Iran Freedom Rally happening in Richmond Hill right now. Woman Life Freedom."
Richmond Hill is a city in Canada's Ontario province.
A further keyword search found the same location here in Richmond Hill, as shown below on Google Street View:
Below is a screenshot comparison of the video shared in the online posts (left) and the same location on Google Street View (right). AFP highlighted corresponding features in circles.
On October 1, protesters rallied against the Iranian regime around Richmond Hill Public Library on October 1, according to this tweet from the library's official account.
Today, Central branch has been chosen by our community as the site for humanitarian protests against recent injustices in Iran. What a historic moment of global magnitude for the Richmond Hill community. #MahsaAminipic.twitter.com/pDUnMarpRc— Richmond Hill Public Library (@RichmondHillPL) October 1, 2022
The regional police force warned people to expect "increased crowds and traffic delays due to a demonstration" in Richmond Hill.
Increased crowds and traffic delays due to a demonstration on Yonge Street between 16th Avenue and the @RichmondHillPL on Major Mackenzie Drive in #RichmondHill.@YRP will have an increased presence to ensure public safety. If possible, avoid the area from 1 to 4 p.m.— York Regional Police (@YRP) October 1, 2022