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A photo of a trash-strewn street has been shared hundreds of times across several Dutch and Chinese social media posts that claim it shows the aftermath of a climate march in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on June 19, 2022. However, the claim is false. The photo was taken in Amsterdam outside the Johan Cruyff Arenabefore a performance by American singer Billie Eilish on June 18 at the adjacent Ziggo Dome.
“After the Dutch march against climate change and pollution in the center of Rotterdam, the Netherlands,” reads the simplified Chinese caption of the photo, shared here on Twitter on June 21.
The picture, which appears to show discarded cans, bottles and plastic bagshas been shared over 160 times.
The walk, which was organized by the Dutch Climate Coalition, took place on June 19 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
However, the claim is false: the photo was taken in another city in the Netherlands in a context unrelated to the climate march.
Garbage outside the stadium in Amsterdam
AFP contacted a Twitter user who published a photo that shows litter similar to that seen in the misleading posts.
Below is a screenshot comparing the photo used in the misleading post (left) and the photo posted to Twitter on June 18 (right), with the corresponding trash circled by AFP:
Internet user @RensKatyCatP told AFP that the photo was taken in Amsterdam on June 18 before a concert by American singer Billie Eilish.
They also sent AFP a screenshot of the photo’s metadata, which verified the date and time it was taken:
Eilish played at Ziggo Domewhich is next to the Johan Cruyff Arena, on June 18.
Depending on location websiteit was due to occur at 9:15 p.m., about two hours after the photo showing the littered street was posted on Twitter.
Details of the photo shared in misleading social media posts also match features around the Johan Cruyff Arena that are visible in Google Street View.
Below is a screenshot comparison of matching features highlighted by AFP, including road signs (yellow), steps (red) and a restaurant sign (blue).
Rotterdam Climate Walk
AFP has previously denied claims that photos of litter are being used to discredit climate activists, including here in Canada and here in Australia.
Bram Karst, spokesperson for the Rotterdam Climate March, denied the photo shared online showed the aftermath of the protest.
“It was not the case at all. These people are there to support the climate, and if something falls by accident, like a protest sign, then it is cleaned up properly,” Karst told AFP on 21st of June.
Karst also tweeted this photo on June 20 with a caption that says it shows cleaners at the end of the march on June 19.