These photos circulated online before the Philippines imposed a lockdown on its main island

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Three photos have been shared in multiple Facebook posts alongside a claim they show an anti-government protest in the Philippines staged during a lockdown implemented to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The claim is false; the photos circulated online at least one month before the Philippine government imposed a lockdown on its main island due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The photos were published here on Facebook on April 7, 2020. It has been shared almost 200 times. 

The post contains three photos of protesters carrying Tagalog-language placards calling for government accountability during the COVID-19 crisis. Two other images in the post show social media comments criticising the protesters. 

Below is a screenshot of the misleading post:

Screenshot of Facebook post

The caption of the post, written in a mix of Tagalog, English and Visayan, translates to English as: “LOOK: The cancer of Society and Corona Virus of the Nation staged a rally again. Instead of following the Enhance Community Quarantine. / Ctto: / shoot them dead..anti duterte’s..the virus will spread further because of you”.

The Philippine government placed its main island of Luzon on an “enhanced community quarantine” from midnight on March 17, 2020 in an effort to curb the growing COVID-19 numbers in the country. The presidential order announced "mass gatherings shall be prohibited" and "a strict home quarantine shall be observed in all households". 

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

The claim is false. A keyword search found the original photos published here on the Facebook account for Anakbayan, which describes itself as a “national democratic mass organization of the Filipino youth”. The photos were published on February 4, 2020 -- weeks before the Philippine government imposed a lockdown.

Below is a screenshot of the Anakbayan’s Facebook post:

Screenshot of Anakbayan's post

The post’s Tagalog-language caption translates to English as: “Several groups are currently staging a protest in front of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to condemn the lack of clear plan to protect the people and the government's lax efforts to curb the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (nCov).”

The Philippine General Hospital is a public hospital in the Philippine capital of Manila. 

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photos in the misleading post (L) and the photos in Anakbayan’s Facebook post (R):

Screenshot comparison

The protest was also reported on by the Philippine news publication Abante Tonite, which shared similar photos here, here and here on its Facebook page on February 4, 2020.

The misleading claim was also debunked by Philippine news outlet Rappler here.

CORONAVIRUS