Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Indigenous Elder Being Forced Into Van For Violation of Australia's COVID-19 Vax Policies

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Indigenous Elder Being Forced Into Van For Violation of Australia's COVID-19 Vax Policies Not Vax Arrest

Does a video posted online show an indigenous elder being forced into a van by law enforcement for violating Australia's COVID-19 vaccination policies? No, that's not true: The video shows an individual who was arrested during a gathering at Rocky Ridge, also known as the Gympie Pyramid or Djaki Kundu, which some consider a sacred site for Australia's Kabi Kabi people.

The claim appeared in several clips, including one posted to Sovren on November 27, 2021, by the official account of Ben Swann, a media personality. The caption of the clip read:

As Australian leaders like Michael Gunner, chief minister of the Northern Territory in Australia, attack Ted Cruz and Candace Owens for their criticism of the territories' vaccine policies, more videos surface testifying to extreme tyranny.

Other versions of the clip included text that read "Video: Aboriginal Elder taken from the street to comply with forced v*ccination."

Users on social media saw this title, description and thumbnail:

A Look At Australia's Covid Policies

As Australian leaders like Michael Gunner, chief minister of the Northern Territory in Australia, attack Ted Cruz and Candace Owens for their criticism of the territories' vaccine policies, more videos surface testifying to extreme tyranny.

While Lead Stories could not locate the original source of the clip with an identical angle, the same scene whas shot from a different angle in a longer video. This video was shot by someone attending the gathering on October 30, 2021, at the Rocky Ridge site, which is in Queensland, Australia. The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads is planning to bulldoze the site to expand the highway. The portion of the video that shows the same footage included in the Sovren clip begins at around the two-minute mark.

A Facebook post (archived here) posted by the group KABI Dreaming on October 31, 2021, explains the video and is embedded below:

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Dec 8 0:29 2021 UTC)

Although its caption and the thread it is included in do not appear to be accurate, another video posted to Twitter on November 25, 2021, shows the beginning of the arrest at the gathering. There is no explanation of what the arrested individual was doing before the arrest, but the video does show her being taken down to the ground and handcuffed by officers.

Lead Stories reached out to the Queensland Police Service (QPS) to confirm whether the video features its officers and if the arrest has anything to do with Australia's COVID-19 vaccination policies. In an email sent on December 7, 2021, a QPS spokesperson sent us a statement that read in part:

Officers from the Queensland Police Service (QPS), including senior police, police negotiators, police liaison officers, and general duty officers attended the unauthorised camp at Rocky Ridge via Gympie in October.

Several arrests were made for offences such as failing to comply with move on directions and trespass.

On October 30 a number of protestors trespassed at the Rocky Ridge Road site. Seven people were arrested for offences including trespass, contravene a direction, obstruct police and breach of bail conditions - two women and five men.

The statement said all those arrested were transported to another location and six of the seven were released the same day after posting bail. They also described a 42-year-old woman -- one of the six released the same day -- who was "arrested at the site for contravene a direction, obstruct police and state false name." Two officers also had minor injuries during the arrests.

The statement ended:

The QPS will not comment on specific protest issues however our planning is well advanced and we continue to review our arrangements to meet the current protest environment.

Lead Stories has previously debunked claims alleging that Australia's COVID-19 vaccination policies are violent. Those fact checks are here and here.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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