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Video of ‘Big Ben’ painted in white is not from 2023

Old video of animal group protest resurfaces with false claim

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Claim: A video shows that London’s Elizabeth Tower, also known as the ‘Big Ben’, was painted white by “Jihadis” (a term used for Muslim fighters) in 2023.

Fact: The claim is false because the video shows a protest by vegan activists in the UK from a year ago. Animal Rebellion activists sprayed white paint – symbolizing milk – at the Big Ben to protest against the cruelty of the dairy industry.

Fact or Fiction?

On 16 November 2023, an account on X (formerly Twitter) posted a video (archived) with the caption, Big Ben – Jihadis attack Big Ben with paint. Khans Met standing around.”  The video shows the gate of the Palace of Westminster painted white, with London police surrounding the area.

The Elizabeth clock tower at the Palace of Westminster, London, is popularly known as the Big Ben.

Soch Fact Check investigated the claim after it was received on WhatsApp. A reverse image search of the keyframes in the video led us to a news story on an animal rights protest, published by Daily Mail UK on 7 September 2022.

According to the report, the police arrested Animal Rebellion protesters after they sprayed fake milk (white paint) at Big Ben ahead of Liz Truss’s first Prime Minister’s Questions, noting that, “Other protesters glued themselves to the pavement outside the parliamentary estate.”

As per Yahoo’s coverage of the protest, a group of nine people was behind the incident. It was a part of a “Plant-Based Future” campaign. The group told Yahoo that “the act was part of an effort to call for wholesale governmental support for farmers and fishing communities to transition to a plant-based food system and programme of rewilding that will secure a future for generations to come.

Virality

The video went viral on X and received 304.5k views, 2.5k likes, 1.3k reposts and 900 comments. Screenshots of the same video were also posted with a similar claim here on Facebook.

It was originally posted by a TikTok account here on 16 November 2023.

Conclusion: A video claiming to show  “Jihadis” attacking the walls of the Palace of Westminster with white paint is false. The video is from 2022 and is not related to any recent protests.

 

Background image in cover photo: iStock

To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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