Photo of US gun control demonstration in 2018 falsely shared as rally for Pakistan's Imran Khan

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After Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan defied attempts to arrest him in March 2023, a photo of a huge crowd was shared by pro-Khan social media accounts that falsely claimed it showed supporters gathered outside his house. The picture was actually taken five years earlier at a demonstration in Washington DC calling for tougher gun laws.

"Lahore: Fresh scenes from Zaman Park," reads an Urdu-language Facebook post, referring to the neighbourhood where Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan lives.

The post was shared on March 12, when Khan complained that police had surrounded Zaman Park ahead of a rally he had planned.

The former cricketing superstar has held huge demonstrations since he was booted from power in April 2022, in an attempt to pressure the fragile coalition that replaced him to hold early elections.

At the same time, he has battled several elaborate legal cases, a frequent fixture for opposition leaders in Pakistan's mudslinging politics.

Khan's supporters clashed repeatedly with police on March 15 as he remained holed up in his Zaman Park residence, defying attempts to arrest him.

Screenshot of the false post taken on March 15, 2023.

The photo was shared by accounts expressing support for Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, including here and here.

US gun control rally

A reverse image search on Google found the photo in the archives of Getty Images photo agency.

The photo caption reads: "Crowds and celebrities attend the March for Our Lives Rally on March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC."

That day, hundreds of thousands of people joined the "March for Our Lives" student-led protest in the US capital to call for stricter gun laws.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo in false posts (left) and the Getty Images photo (right):

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo in false posts (left) and the Getty Images photo (right)

Buildings in the photo include the Old Post Office Tower in the centre and the Canadian Embassy on the right. These can be seen in Google Street View images of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC.

The Old Post Office Tower (centre) and Canadian Embassy (right) on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC

Similar photos taken by AFP here and here show the same scene.