The Sri Lankan protest banner featured in this image has been digitally manipulated

Copyright AFP 2017-2021. All rights reserved.

An image has been shared repeatedly by Sri Lankan Facebook users that shows opposition party members protesting against deforestation. The photo purports to show some protesters holding a banner that contains profanity. The banner, however, has been digitally altered to include an expletive.

This article contains profanity

The image was shared in this Facebook post on March 23, 2021.

It purports to show a group of Sri Lankan opposition party protesters holding a banner that calls for an end to deforestation. 

The Sinhala-language banner purports to read: "Fuckers, stop destruction of environment immediately".

The Sinhala text at the bottom of the post graphic reads:  “Looks like  environmental destruction will be put to a complete stop this time, look at how angry they are”.

Screenshot of the Facebook post captured on March 31, 2021

The same image was shared alongside a similar claim in multiple Facebook posts here and here; and on Instagram here.

The image, however, has been digitally altered to include an expletive. 

The original Sinhala-language word paalakayini, which translates as "rulers", has been digitally altered to show "pakayini", an expletive in Sinhala.

A reverse image search on Google of the photo found the undoctored image was originally shared in this Facebook post on March 22, 2021.

It was published on the official Facebook page for Sri Lanka’s People’s Liberation Front party, known locally as the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) party.

The banner reads: "Rulers, stop destruction of environment immediately" in Sinhala. A similar message can be seen displayed in Tamil and English text underneath. 

Screenshot of the Facebook post captured on April 1, 2021

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

Screenshot comparison of the misleading post (L) and the original image (R)

The protest, organised by the JVP, urged the government to stop environmental destruction in Sri Lanka.