26 September 2023

False: This video was not shot in Iran; it shows old protest footage in Ukraine and Hong Kong

It is a composite of different footage featuring protesters hurling Molotov cocktails with slingshots in Ukraine in 2014 and in Hong Kong in 2019.

On Oct. 9, a tweet claimed a video shows Iranians launching petrol bombs with slingshots to attack military tanks and armored vehicles in ongoing protests in the country following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody on Sept. 16.

The video has been viewed more than 11,000 times and the tweet has over 300 likes as of this writing. The clip has also been posted on a Hong Kong Facebook group.

However, the claim is false. This video has nothing to do with Iran. It consists of two unrelated clips showing protesters in Ukraine in 2014 and Hong Kong in 2019.

Through an image and keyword search using “RUPTLY,” the watermarked name of the Russian state-owned news agency seen in the bottom left corner, Annie Lab found this YouTube video posted on Jan. 24, 2014, featuring footage from the state-controlled Russian broadcaster RT.

Screenshots of the original Twitter post and YouTube video

The title and the publishing date of the video suggested it was related to the 2014 Euromaidan protests in Ukraine.

In another related video, we found a clearer frame of an iconic structure seen in the video in question.

It is the entrance of the Valeriy Lobanovskyi Dynamo Stadium in Central Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

YouTube video (top) and Google Streetview image (bottom)

By searching the keywords “Kyiv protest slingshot” and setting the search date from Jan. 19, 2014, to Jan. 23, 2014, we found a picture showing a similar protest scene in a news article by Business Insider.

Reuters news agency was credited as the original source of the photograph. According to the caption provided by Reuters, it was taken by Valentyn Ogirenko during pro-European integration protesters.

Comparison between Reuters’ image and YouTube video details

Reportedly, slingshots were being used against riot police in Kyiv on Jan. 23, 2014.

Protests against the government broke out in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in November 2013 and escalated in January 2014 after then-President Viktor Yanukovych reneged on a plan to form a trade alliance with the European Union.

The second part of the video shows the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2019 during one of the most intense clashes between the protesters and the police in what is known as the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement.

Annie Lab found this CNN tweet on Nov.18, 2019, with the same video. The tweet said protesters used petrol bomb slingshots to fight the police.

A comparison of a video shot of the tweet and the same video shot of CNN’s report.