This photo shows a protest against gun violence in Washington DC in 2018, not a pro-Trump rally in 2021

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A photo of a large demonstration in Washington DC has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Twitter and Facebook that claim it was taken on January 6, 2021, the same day that supporters of US President Donald Trump organised a rally in the US capital. The claim is false; the photo has circulated since March 2018 in reports about a protest against gun violence in Washington DC.

The photo was published on Twitter here on January 6, 2021. The post has been retweeted over 1,100 times.

Screenshot captured on January 6, 2021, of the misleading Twitter post

The post’s simplified Chinese-language caption translates to English as: “The grand occasion in Washington DC 35 minutes ago!”

The tweet circulated ahead of a planned 'Save America' rally on January 6, 2021, organised in support of outgoing President Trump.

The photo was also shared thousands of times alongside a similar claim in Chinese and English on Facebook here, here, here and here and on Twitter here, here and here.

The claim, however, is false.

A Google reverse image search found the photo in fact shows a rally against gun violence that was held in Washington DC in March 2018. 

The photo was published by The Washington Post here. It was credited to Post photojournalist Salwan Georges.

The photo’s caption reads: “Attendees at the March for Our Lives rally on March 24 in Washington. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)”.

Below is a comparison between the photo in the misleading Twitter post (L) and The Washington Post’s photo (R):

Comparison between the photo from the misleading Twitter post (L) and The Washington Post’s photo (R)

With credit to The Washington Post and Georges, the photo was also published in March 2018 by US magazine Glamour here and The Dallas Morning News here.

Georges took to Twitter on January 6, 2021 to refute the false claim about his photo.

“After seeing several people on social media share this photo claiming it showed the crowds gathered today in Washington D.C., I want to clarify that I took this photo on March 24, 2018 while covering the March for Our Lives event in the capital. The photo was not taken today,” Georges tweeted.

The March for Our Lives rally was organised one month after a deadly mass shooting at a high school in the US state of Florida in February 2018. The Washington DC demonstration was held along with protests in cities across the country, making the movement one of the largest protests in US history.

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