Several videos went viral late Wednesday claiming to show pro-Palestinian protesters in Washington D.C. setting fires and clashing with police. But the vast majority of the videos were taken out of context, with many dating to the protests staged in cities across the country after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in the summer of 2020.
“DC PROTESTERS TURN VIOLENT, CLASH WITH CAPITOL POLICE,” one account, known as Tracker Deep, stated on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
But that video didn’t show anything from this year and instead appears to have been taken from the 2020 protests. It’s unclear why these old videos are being shared as if they’re new.
The Tracker Deep account has relatively few followers, but has gone viral several times by spreading incorrect information on X. That spread is thanks in large part to its blue checkmark, which can now be purchased by anyone with $8 to spend. The blue “verification” checkmark allows accounts to be boosted by X’s algorithm, even though the checkmark is otherwise meaningless and doesn’t indicate the account has been verified by X in any real way.
The Tracker Deep has previously spread false information, like a claim that the Nile River had turned blood red. The video shared by the account actually showed a lagoon in Chile, made red by a natural process rather than the fulfillment of some biblical prophecy, as the account seems to suggest.
There was indeed a protest in Washington D.C. in front of the Democratic National Committee offices on Wednesday. Semafor’s David Weigel posted several videos from the protest and reported that protesters were attempting to block anyone from entering or exiting the DNC offices. Weigel posted his videos to YouTube and X.
Protestors were reportedly upset about U.S. support for Israel’s war in Gaza. The U.S. gives Israel roughly $3.8 billion in foreign aid each year, the most of any country, and President Joe Biden wants to give the country $14 billion more.
Several news wire services captured images from the protests at the Democratic National Headquarters on Wednesday night, as you can see from the photo below.
The protest was organized by Jewish peace activist groups including If Not Now and Jewish Voice for Peace Action, according to the Associated Press. U.S. Capitol Police told the AP roughly 150 people were “illegally and violently protesting,” though the peace activists disputed that characterization. One protester was arrested for assault, according to the AP.
Support for Israel in its war against Hamas has waned in recent weeks here in the U.S., with just 32% of Americans saying “the U.S. should support Israel,” in a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. That’s down from 41% who said the same in a poll conducted October 12-13.
Roughly 1,200 Israelis were killed during the terrorist attacks by Hamas on October 7, with another 240 people taken hostage. And while Israeli authorities say the release of hostages is a major priority, there hasn’t been a single hostage freed since Israel started its ground invasion of Gaza. That fact has upset many families of the hostages who believe the Israeli government isn’t doing enough to prioritize their loved ones.
About 11,100 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war, according to the Gaza Health Ministry and the Washington Post. That’s roughly 1 out of every 200 people in the territory.