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Video of large group of protesters from 2020, not South African #NationalShutdown in March 2023

IN SHORT: A number of videos and photos were shared on social media in South Africa on 20 March, many claiming to show supporters of the Economic Freedom Fighters taking to the streets in large numbers. But this video of a crowd of protesters is from 2020.

On 20 March 2023, South Africa’s second-largest opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), took to the streets for a #NationalShutdown.

The party was protesting rolling blackouts imposed by Eskom, South Africa's primary electricity supplier, and calling for the resignation of the country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

As a result, videos and photos have been shared online claiming to show EFF support on the day. 

One video shared on Twitter shows a large group of what is claimed to be EFF supporters marching as part of the EFF-organised #NationalShutdown. 

In the video, the marchers can be heard blowing whistles and chanting while some hold up placards.

Many in the video are wearing red t-shirts and waving flags that seem to show they are EFF supporters.

But when was the video filmed?

NationalShutdown_False

‘You need to post 2 year old videos because nothing is happening’ – video old

The quality of the video makes it difficult to see what the placards say, but one board is just visible, reading “South African citizens first”.

This was the first red flag that the video wasn’t taken in 2023.

A quick search for “South African citizens first” brought us to a 28 February 2020 tweet by Eyewitness News (EWN), a South African news publisher.

“#EFFEskomMarch WATCH: EFF marchers at the Innesfree park in Sandton. Some placards read ‘Pravin Gordhan must go’ ‘South African citizens first’,” the tweet reads.

The party was marching to protest against the continuous power cuts and the proposed privatisation of Eskom, EWN said in an article published the same day.

Twitter users were also quick to comment that the video didn’t show the March 2023 #NationalShutdown.

“The most oldest video I have ever seen,” one Twitter user replied.

“You need to post 2 year old videos because nothing is happening XD,” another said.

Twitter searches for “#EFFEskomMarch” shows the video in the claim, and others like it, during February 2020 protests.

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