Does a video circulating on social media show crowds protesting the increasing cost of living in London on April 1, 2023? No, that's not true: The footage is from a 2018 anti-Brexit rally.
The claim appeared in a video posted on Facebook on April 3, 2023. Its in-built caption said:
Cost of living March.
This is what it looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Apr 5 14:15:58 2023 UTC)
The clip appeared on TikTok on April 2, 2023. It was published by an account containing a reference to its locality, actual or projected: @ukrealnews. It describes itself as "totally independent" and routinely skips mentioning primary sources.
Unlike in the U.S., Europeans put the day before the month, and, thus, the inscription refers to April 1, 2023.
Google News search results filtered by the date do not show relevant matches. Had such a massive rally actually taken place on April 1, 2023, it would be covered by many media outlets. We would also see a variety of never-posted-before snapshots on social media. However, it's not the case here.
The footage shows crowds on Pall Mall near Trafalgar Square in London, UK. But according to a TinEye reverse-image search, it was posted many times almost five years before April 1, 2023.
The earliest example of a still image exactly matching one of the frames in the video appeared on Twitter on June 23, 2018:
(Sources: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Apr 5 14:15:58 2023 UTC; Twitter screenshot taken on Wed Apr 5 15:08:40 2023 UTC; composite image by Lead Stories)
We see the same yellow marking on the rooftop of the building in the top right corner of both images as well as the white square-shaped structure below it. As shown in both images, the grass is green and dense, which is more consistent with summer months than with early spring in London. The aerial view of the crowd also shows striking similarities. On the left, there's a much lower concentration of people in what looks like a light-yellow rectangle. Moreover, on the left side of both pictures, a dark-colored car is located in the exact same spot. The only difference between the two images appears to be that what was shown on TikTok was cropped.
Further research confirms the findings: Before 2023, the Guardian published the same aerial footage with characteristically slow motions of the drone, unlike in other similar videos capturing different rallies. The description of the clip said that the footage was recorded on June 23, 2018, and that it showed roughly 100,000 people marching in London to protest against the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, also known as Brexit. Contrary to the claim, major media outlets did cover that event.