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Video shows climate policy protest in Austria, not COVID-19 crisis actors

February 8, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: Video of a person moving under a black body covering during a live German news segment shows a COVID-19 crisis actor.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video shows protesters taking part in a climate change demonstration in Austria.

THE FACTS: Social media users are misrepresenting an Austrian TV news clip to say it is proof that COVID-19 deaths are being faked.

In the 13-second clip, a reporter delivers a news segment with five rows of people lying on the ground behind him covered with black plastic to resemble body bags.

As the reporter speaks, the plastic becomes dislodged on a protester and someone runs over to replace the plastic. In the misrepresented clip, the news chyron at the bottom of the screen is cut off. The edited clip is being used on social media with captions saying it shows a COVID-19 paid crisis actor.

This is how they deceived us with the covid scam...crisis actor caught in German camera,” one tweet sharing the clip said.

But the news coverage was unrelated to COVID-19. The original clip was taken by Austrian news station Oe24 on Feb. 4 in Ballhausplatz, a square located in central Vienna.

A translation of the news chyron on the full clip reads “Vienna: demo against climate policy.” The reporter says in German that the protest was organized by the group Fridays for Future, a climate justice group. According to the Oe24 reporter, the 49 covered bodies represent the number of people the group predicts will die everyday due to the consequences of climate change.

The protesters say that the Austrian government is not doing enough to reduce emissions.

A Facebook event created for the protest on Feb. 4 says: “Every day that Austria does not reduce its emissions claims an incredibly large number of lives!”

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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