Images of Protesting German Farmers From 2019 Revived as Recent
The German farmers were protesting against proposals for their country’s agricultural policies on 26 November 2019.
A set of old images of farmers protesting in Germany’s capital, Berlin, has been revived amid the ongoing farmers’ protests in Delhi. Some social media users went on to falsely claim that the protest in Germany was in solidarity with the one in India.
The images could be traced back to November 2019, when German farmers had protested against proposals for their country’s agricultural policies, which they termed as “overly restrictive.”
CPI-M leader Nilotpal Basu shared one of the images on 14 February, with the claim, “Farmers Protest in the German Capital, Berlin today. Farmers have driven their tractors right upto the Brandenburg Gate an iconic landmark in the heart of the city. This is how Democracy works.”
Several users shared a set of three images with the same claim.
Users also shared the images with the claim that the German farmers had protested in support of the Indian farmers.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
All three images date back to 26 November 2019, much before the three farm laws against which the Indian farmers are protesting were passed in Parliament.
A reverse image search led us to an article on Seattle Times, credited to news agency AP’s photographer Michael Sohn.
Through a keyword search we came across the AP report, carrying the image, with the caption, “Farmers have parked their tractors on the 'Road of June 17' in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.”
We came across the second image in a report by German daily, Der Tagesspiegel, which credited the image to photographer Monika Skolimowska of the news agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
We also found the image on stock-photography website, ‘agefotostock.’ The picture was taken on 26 November 2019, when numerous tractors stood in front of the Victory Column “during a protest action by farmers on the Straße des 17. Juni.”
Through another reverse image search we found the picture on UK-based website, Farmers Weekly, crediting the image to European Pressphoto Agency (EPA)’s photographer, Omer Messinger.
The description of the image on EPA’s website stated that the image was also taken in November 2019 along the 17 Juni street and Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
WHY WERE THE GERMAN FARMERS PROTESTING?
Thousands of farmers on tractors gathered along the ‘Straße des 17. Juni’ or the 17 Juni street in Germany’s Berlin, on 26 November 2019, with the iconic monuments, Victory Column on one end and the Brandenburg Gate on the other.
According to AP’s report, the farmers alleged that the new environmental limits being planned by the government in the country’s agricultural policies were “overly restrictive.”
The also contested that the government was “making it impossible for domestic agriculture to compete against imports, among other things.”
In September 2019, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet had decided on a series of proposals which included tighter restrictions on the use of pesticides and herbicides to protect insects, and on fertilizers to protect groundwater.
The German farmers have held a series of protests since then. Recently, from 6 to 9 February, the farmers protested in Berlin against the government’s proposed legislation to “halt a dramatic decline in insect populations,” which the farmers believe will threaten their livelihoods.
However, images from 2019 were circulated on social media with the false claim that the German farmers have protested in solidarity with the demands of the Indian farmers.
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