Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show 'British Policeman' 'Set On Fire At A Hamas Demonstration' In 2023

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show 'British Policeman' 'Set On Fire At A Hamas Demonstration' In 2023 Mexico, 2020

Does a video on social media show a British law enforcement officer engulfed in flames during a rally related to the 2023 Hamas-Israel war? No, that's not true: The footage predates the conflict and the incident occurred far from the Middle East. It was recorded in Mexico in 2020.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on X, formerly known as Twitter, on November 5, 2023. The caption said:

A British policeman was set on fire at a Hamas demonstration.
This is what Hamas terrorist supporters look like.

Trump White House Indonesia
#IsraelHamasWar #Israel #Hamas #Hamas_is_ISIS #HamasTerrorists #GazaGenocide #IsraelWar #Hamas_is_ISIS #Palestine

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2023-11-08 at 9.54.23 AM.png

Twitter screenshot(Source: X screenshot taken on Wed Nov 8 14:54:23 2023 UTC)

The 14-second video showed clashes between protesters and the police.

However, it was not recorded in the U.K. in 2023. As seen in the screenshot above, the patch on the officer's upper arm shows the Mexican national flag, not the British one. The appearance of the police uniform in the frame is consistent with other images of Mexican law enforcement (for example, here.)

A reverse image search shows that the footage was uploaded (archived here) on YouTube on June 6, 2020. The description of the file said that the video captured a scene during a rally against police brutality in Mexico:

Screen Shot 2023-11-08 at 10.42.01 AM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Wed Nov 8 15:42:01 2023 UTC)

On June 5, 2020, the same footage (archived here) was posted on X, then still known as Twitter. It gave a more precise location: Guadalajara.

Screen Shot 2023-11-08 at 11.09.29 AM.png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Wed Nov 8 16:09:29 2023 UTC)

As screenshots of 2020 posts above demonstrate, the version of the video that started to circulate on social media in the fall of 2023 was flipped horizontally to avoid detection. Furthermore, it was reuploaded in lower quality to obscure the details helping to geolocate it.

Based on older clips in better quality, Lead Stories found the spot where the recording was made: It was not far from 351 Av Juarez (archived here) close to the Guadalajara Cathedral in the capital of Jalisco (archived here), one of the Mexican states.

As seen on a Google Street View screenshot below, the spot is between a university building and McDonald's across the street, also seen in the footage shared on social media in 2020 and 2023.

Screen Shot 2023-11-08 at 11.27.14 AM.png

(Source: Google Street View screenshot taken on Wed Nov 8 16:27:14 2023 UTC)

Back in June 2020, Yahoo News Australia published a story (archived here) about the incident:

The incident took place during protests in Jalisco, Mexico, on Thursday local time, over the death of Giovanni Lopez, 30, who died after his arrest was widely believed to be for not wearing a face mask during coronavirus restrictions. ...

A masked demonstrator then runs up behind him and pours flammable liquid onto the officer's back before setting him alight.

At the time, the same scene was also mentioned by Noticias Cararol (archived here), a Spanish-language news channel based in Columbia, and by NBC Philadelphia (archived here).

The video in question was mislabeled on social media before. For example, in 2020, a series of posts (archived here) falsely claimed that the footage showed protests in the United States.

Other Lead Stories fact checks mentioning the 2023 Hamas-Israel war can be found here.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion