Old video of Indonesia police training falsely shared as farmers' clash ahead of India elections

As India geared up for national elections, a video of a police training exercise in Indonesia surfaced in social media posts that falsely claimed it showed clashes between security forces and farmers vying to march to Delhi in a dispute over crop prices. The video was in fact filmed months before the protests began and shows police in Indonesia's Sula Islands holding a security drill ahead of the presidential election in February 2024.

"Today's true news, the fight going on in the farmers' protest is very scary," reads a Hindi-language Facebook Reel shared on March 30, 2024. 

The video shows a group of people hurling projectiles at security personnel dressed in riot gear.

Thousands of Indian farmers riding tractors have been protesting at the borders of northern Punjab and Haryana states since February 2024 to demand a minimum support price for their crops. 

The protest hopes to replicate the year-long siege of highways into the capital that pressured Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government into abandoning its agricultural reform plans in 2021. 

However, the farmers remain blocked by police barricades and barrages of tear gas fired or dropped by drones.

Screenshot of the false post, taken on April 24, 2024

The video surfaced online ahead of India's six-week-long marathon elections that started on April 19.

The farmers' protests have featured prominently in the election campaign of India's opposition Congress party (archived link). 

But analysts have long expected Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to win against a fractious opposition alliance that includes Congress as its main party.

Indonesia police drill

A reverse image search found a screengrab from the video published in Indonesian news outlet Berita Satu on October 12, 2023 (archived link). 

The Indonesian-language headline reads: "Sula Islands Police Holds City Security Simulation Ahead of 2024 Election."

According to the report, police in Indonesia's Sula Islands held the training exercise in the courtyard of the General Election Commission office in Pohea village, North Sanana district on October 12, 2023 ahead of the 2024 presidential elections.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the clip shared in false posts (left) and the Berita Satu image (right) with similarities highlighted by AFP:  

Screenshot comparison of the clip shared in false posts (left) and the Berita Satu image (right) with similarities highlighted by AFP

An Indonesian-language sign visible in the screengrab and in the video shared in false posts reads: "City security simulation in the context of securing the 2023-2024 elections in the jurisdiction of the Sula Islands Police."

Screenshot from the video showing an Indonesian sign

Local news outlet Habar Timur quoted the Sula Islands police chief saying the exercise aimed to train officers in election security (archived link).


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