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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Video Does NOT Show 6K People Marching For Tommy Robinson To Be Freed

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Mon, 28 May 2018 09:55:03 Z)

Does a viral video show six thousand people marching down London's Whitehall to demand freedom for Tommy Robinson? No, that's not true: the video is from several weeks before Robinson's arrest. There have been protests in Whitehall in front of Downing Street, but media reports put the attendance at "hundreds":

Hundreds demonstrate in Downing Street after far-right figure Tommy Robinson arrested

Hundreds of demonstrators descended on Whitehall to protest against far-right figurehead Tommy Robinson's arrest for allegedly breaching the peace outside a Leeds courthouse. The area had to be closed to traffic as the group gathered outside Downing Street on Saturday afternoon.

An example of the video can be seen in this tweet published on May 27, 2018 by user @USAHotLips (archived here) which had following text:

"Over 6K march in support of #TommyRobinson ????????KEEP FIGHTING‼️ #FreeSpeech Don't think this will end well for Parliament. #FreeTommy #FreeTommyRobinson #FreeTommyNOW https://t.co/FlOSSflYDB"

(Video archived here)

Screenshot of https://twitter.com/USAHotLips/status/1000536971046014977

In reality the video was from an event where Robinson spoke on May 6, 2018:

Milo Yiannopoulos expected to speak at controversial far-right rally in central London

A band of far-right speakers including Tommy Robinson and Milo Yiannopoulos are expected to speak at a 'Day for Freedom' rally in Whitehall today. Thousands have registered their interest in an online Facebook event, which suggests controversial YouTubers Count Dankula and Sargon of Akkad will also appear at the event near Downing Street.

Note: this does not mean there isn't a groundswell of support for Tommy Robinson online: a petition demanding his release has collected over 300.000 signatures so far:

Sign the Petition

Theresa May MP: Free Tommy Robinson

But the video was not of a protest demanding his release. There was an actual demonstration for that in front of Downing Street 10 last weekend but it was smaller than the old video made it appear to be, as can be seen in actual footage of the event:

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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