The protests led to clashes in Nairobi between police and opposition supporters, which spread to other parts of the country.
Photos of the violence were published in international media.
Years later, the photos continue to circulate on social media – but falsely described as violence elsewhere.
On 4 April 2019 a Facebook user posted two photos, one of police beating up a man and the other showing a different man with a head wound and face covered in blood.
“Spotted somewhere in Kutus,” the user captioned the photo. Kutus is a town in Kenya’s Kirinyaga county.
The post appeared in a Facebook group with over 117,000 members, attracting 150 reactions and 100 comments and rekindling a longstanding debate on police brutality in Kenya.
Reuters photos of Nairobi protests
A reverse image search reveals the photos were taken during the 2016 police crackdown on electoral commission protesters in Nairobi.
Both were taken by Reuters photographer Goran Tomasevic.
We asked Reuters where and when the photos had been taken. Brian Moss, the agency’s ethics and standards editor, confirmed they were snapped during the 2016 Nairobi protests.
“Both photos are Reuters photos dated May 16, 2016,” he told Africa Check. “The top photo shows a policeman beating up a protester inside a building in Nairobi while the second photo shows a protester beaten by Kenya police bleeding during clashes in Nairobi.” – Dancan Bwire (23/04/19)
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.