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Widely shared Dutch farmer protest picture is from 2019

July 7, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: Photo of hundreds of tractors packing a street shows 2022 Dutch farmer protests against the government’s plans to cut emissions.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. This photo dates to October 2019, when it was shot by a photographer for ANP News Agency in the Netherlands.

THE FACTS: Several years-old images of Dutch farmers protesting have spread as new this week as the demonstrators block roads and supermarket distribution centers to protest government plans to slash emissions.

One such photo shows a head-on shot of hundreds of tractors gathered on a tree-lined multi-lane roadway, blocking the path.

The photo amassed thousands of shares across Twitter and Instagram this week, with some users using words like “new” in their captions. Social media posts implied in their language that the post showed current demonstrations.

However, a reverse-image search finds the image dates to 2019, during Dutch farmer protests against government moves to cut carbon and nitrogen emissions at the time.

A photo matching the angle of the widely shared image, and featuring the same bystanders, appears on the photo archive website Getty Images with a caption explaining that it was shot on Oct. 16, 2019.

“Farmers gather with their tractors near the headquarters of the the National Institute for Health and Environment (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu), for a protest against the nitrogen policy rules, in Bilthoven, on October 16, 2019,” the caption read. It identified the photographer as Robin Van Lonkhuijsen at ANP News Agency.

The image also circulated on Twitter and elsewhere on the internet that year.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.