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Nairobi demonstration in solidarity with Nigeria’s 2021 Democracy Day protests? No, photo of 2020 #EndSARS protests in Abuja

A photo of a group of people waving the flag of Nigeria has been posted on Facebook with the claim that it shows Kenyans in Nairobi “standing in solidarity” with the people of Nigeria.

“June 12 Protest: Kenyans stand with Nigerians in solidarity,” the caption reads. “Location: Nairobi. THANK YOU.” The 12 June 2021 post is on a Facebook page with some 14,000 followers. 

The photo and claim has also been widely shared on Twitter. 

In 2019, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari signed into law that 12 June would be the national holiday of Democracy Day. The holiday is controversial. In 2021, Democracy Day saw protests in several Nigerian cities. The protests were against poor governance and “terrorism, criminal abductions and separatist movements”, according to one report.

But what does the photo really show?


#EndSARS Protests

A Google reverse image search reveals that the photo has been online since at least 18 October 2020 – almost eight months before 12 June 2021. 

It appears in a 2020 article on the website of Premium Times, a credible Nigerian newspaper. The article’s headline is: “ANALYSIS: Will deployment of troops quell or escalate #EndSARS protests?” The photo is watermarked “Premium Times -- Kabiru Yusuf”.

The photo is of #EndSARS protests in Nigeria, in October 2020. The protests demanded that the county’s police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars) be disbanded because of the unit’s alleged extrajudicial killings, brutality and human rights abuses.

Abuja, not Nairobi

We searched the Premium Times news website and found articles by Kabiru Yusuf. Our fact-checking colleagues at Dubawa contacted Yusuf, who said the photo was taken in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. 

So, no, the photo was not taken in Nairobi, Kenya, on 12 June 2021. It was taken in Abuja, Nigeria, in October 2020 during the county’s #EndSars protests.

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