This image of healthcare workers protesting against Myanmar’s military coup has been doctored

Copyright AFP 2017-2020. All rights reserved.

An image shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter purports to show protesters in Myanmar holding a banner that reads: "If you don’t fight, you will end up like Thailand". However, the image has been doctored; the original photo shows healthcare workers in Myanmar holding a protest banner that contains no reference to Thailand.

The picture was published in this Facebook on February 7, 2021, which has been shared 1,300 times.

It shows healthcare workers holding a Thai-language banner that reads: “If you don’t fight, you will end up like Thailand, without a future.” 

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post, taken on February 9, 2021

The Facebook post’s Thai-language caption reads: “Myanmar people’s banner. If you don’t fight, you will end up like Thailand without a future. They are telling the truth.”

The picture surfaced online as hundreds of thousands of people across Myanmar protested against the military's arrest of democratically-elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a bloodless coup on February 1, 2021.

In neighbouring Thailand, authorities have come down heavily on pro-democracy protesters demanding reform to the monarchy as part of a youth-led movement that started in July 2020.

The image was also shared on Facebook here and here and on Twitter here alongside a similar claim.

However, the image has been doctored. 

Reverse image and keyword searches on Google found that part of the original photo was published by Thai news outlet Khaosod here on February 3, 2021.

The photo shows the healthcare workers holding a Burmese-language banner that reads: “We oppose the military coup against the people's government”. 

The article headline reads: “Myanmar people defied military coup by banging pots and honking [their car horns]”.

Screenshot of the original photo on Khaosod's report, taken on February 9, 2021

The article reports that hospital staff in Myanmar had threatened strike action in opposition to the coup.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the doctored image shared in social media posts (L) and part of the original image published by Khaosod (R):

Screenshot comparison of the doctored image shared in social media posts (L) and part of the original image published by Khaosod (R)

Additional photos of the protesting healthcare workers carrying the Burmese-language banner were published by The Irrawaddy, an English-language Myanmar news website on Twitter here February 3, 2021.

 

The tweet reads: “Healthcare workers at a government orthopedic hospital in Mandalay join civil disobedience campaign on Wednesday against military coup in Myanmar. 
#militarycoup #SaveMyanmar”

Eleven Media, another English-language outlet in Myanmar, also reported on the healthcare workers’ protest here.

Myanmar Military Coup