Social media posts share edited image of anti-coup protest in Yangon, Myanmar

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An image has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside claims it shows an anti-coup protest in  Yangon, Myanmar's largest city. The image, however, has been altered; although there have been huge crowds at protests against the military coup in Myanmar in February 2021, the image has been manipulated to make the demonstration appear larger.

The photo was published on Facebook here on February 18, 2021. The post has been shared more than 180 times.

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post, taken on February 18, 2021.

The post's Thai caption translates to English as: “The power of Myanmar opposed the coup today! High angle shot of the four way intersection at Sule Pagoda, Yangon. Protestors disregard orders from the army against rallying, martial law or any warnings from the military! #MyanmarMob17Feb."

The photo circulated as Myanmar's military continues to crack down on protesters, with troops being deployed to disrupt peaceful demonstrators across the country with tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets. In Yangon last week, drivers blocked key roads as loosely-organised civil disobedience grew.

The image was also shared alongside similar claims on Facebook here, here and here and on Twitter here.

However, the image has been edited.

Mirrored Image

An analysis of the photo found that a single photo was mirrored vertically and horizontally, which makes the crowd appear larger.

The photo editing technique is clearly seen in the screenshot below:

The doctored image with a white line added to show where it is reflected

A reverse Google image search also found that the original photo was published on Twitter here by The Irrawaddy, an English- language newspaper in Myanmar, on February 17, 2021.

The tweet’s caption reads: “Tens of thousands of protesters in Sule, downtown Yangon on Wednesday to protest against the #Myanmar military regime, which seized power from the country’s democratically elected government on Feb. 1. Since Feb. 6, people across the country have staged daily #anti_coup rallies.”

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the edited image (L) and the original photo (R):

Side-by-side comparison of the edited image (L) and the original photo (R)

Various corresponding features are visible in all four corners of the picture, such as a white van, a staircase and trees.

Screenshot of original photo (left) and edited image (right)

The original photo is an aerial view of Yangon's Sule Paya Road Pedestrian Bridge, which can be seen on Google Maps here.

Myanmar Military Coup