Old photos of Aung San Suu Kyi shared in false posts about her ‘showing support for Thai pro-democracy protesters’

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Two photos of Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi have been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim they show her raising a three-fingered salute in support of Thai pro-democracy protesters. The claim is false; the photos actually show Suu Kyi meeting with Myanmar’s national scouts in 2019, almost one year before major pro-democracy protests began in Thailand. 

The photos were published on Facebook here on October 24, 2020. 

The post includes two photos: both of them show Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi raising a three-fingered salute.

The post's Thai-language caption states: “Aung San Suu Kyi gave motivation to Free Youth Movement.

“It shows that she is a real activist for freedom, like students and the people in our country”.

Since July 2020, Thailand has been rocked by youth-led protests demanding a redrafting of the constitution, reforms to the monarchy, and for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, AFP reported here.

The photos were also shared here, here and here on Facebook alongside a similar claim.

The claim is false.

First photo

A reverse image search on Google followed by a keyword search found the original photo published by the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) here on July 20, 2019.

The photo's caption reads in part: “Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi (C) wearing a Girl Scout uniform during her swearing-in ceremony as chief of Myanmar scouts at the Yangon University Diamond Jubilee Hall in Yangon, Myanmar, 20 July 2019.”

Below is a screenshot comparison of the image in the misleading Facebook post (L) and the EPA photo (R):

The same image was also published here in a report by the Myanmar Times on July 30, 2019.

The caption reads: “State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi wears a Girl Scout uniform as she is sworn in as chief of the country’s scouts in Yangon on July 20.”

Second photo

A reverse image search found the second photo published in August 2019 in this Facebook post by The Irrawaddy, a Myanmar news site. 

Part of the post's Burmese-language caption translates to English as: “State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, arriving in Mandalay, attended a meeting with Burmese scouts at Mandalay City Hall on 16 August, and gave a speech.”

Below is a screenshot comparison of the image in the misleading Facebook post (L) and the Irrawaddy photo (R):

As of November 25 2020, Suu Kyi has not made any public comments on the recent protests in Thailand.

Thailand protests