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Video of protester kicking a tear gas canister was filmed in Lebanon, not US

May 30, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows a protester kicking a tear gas canister like a soccer ball as smoke billows around him during protests following the death of George Floyd.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video was filmed in 2019 in Lebanon, well before protests demanding justice for Floyd, who died on Monday after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes during an arrest. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.  

THE FACTS: Social media users are misrepresenting the video amid protests following Floyd’s death. It has circulated widely online with hashtags tied to Floyd, and two cities where protests have occurred, Minneapolis and Los Angeles. 

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“Protestor in #losangeles LA kicks tear gas that’s coming towards him in mid air back towards to police,” one tweet said. “This is sports now. #georgefloyd #protests #CALIFORNIA #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd.”

The video was shared widely across social media platforms during protests in Lebanon on Dec. 15. A journalist with The National UAE shared the video on Twitter on Dec. 15 saying, “And what a kick. #Lebanon Protestor fires back with his right leg a tear gas canister thrown by the Security forces in Beirut.”

During those demonstrations, Lebanese security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the anti-government protesters. Lebanese social media users joked online that the protester should be recruited for a national soccer team.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform. 

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536