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Old Indonesia protest clip falsely linked to 2024 election

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Activists gathered in front of Indonesia’s parliament in March 2024 to protest alleged violations in the presidential election, however, a clip of police firing water cannons shared in posts about the demonstrations has circulated online since 2019. The footage — filmed by a local media outlet — shows a violent protest in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta against proposed amendments for a new criminal code.

The clip — viewed more than 4,700 times — was shared alongside the false claim on TikTok on March 6, 2024, with superimposed text that reads “BREAKING NEWS”.

The clip shows a photo of a massive rally, with the logo for Indonesian media outlet Kompas TV partially visible in the picture. The Indonesian-language text added to the video indicated it was from a recent protest against Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

It translated in part as: “Senayan is burning. The second reform has started. Jokowi is forced to step down. The people demand that democracy is restored.”

Activists use the term “the second reform” to demand a cleaner and more democratic government (archived link).

In the video, a female narrator can be heard saying in Indonesian: “We are now seeing the situation in front of the Indonesian parliament building in Jakarta.

“You can see that security officers have started to shoot water cannons toward the protesters who gathered in front of the Indonesian parliament building.”

<span>Screenshot of the false post, taken on March 28, 2024</span>

Screenshot of the false post, taken on March 28, 2024

The post surfaced a day after hundreds of people gathered in front of the Indonesian parliament building in Jakarta’s Senayan district to protest alleged interference in the February 2024 presidential election won by Prabowo Subianto (archived link).

Prabowo’s running mate Gibran Rakabuming Raka is the eldest son of incumbent President Jokowi. Critics alleged the outgoing leader used state resources to favour Prabowo and Gibran — however, Jokowi has denied this (archived link).

The clip was also viewed more than 10,000 times after it was shared with a similar claim elsewhere on TikTok here and here; as well as on Instagram and SnackVideo.

2019 protest footage

Reverse image and keyword searches on Google found a video published on YouTube by Indonesian broadcaster Kompas TV on September 24, 2019 (archived link).

The report was headlined: “Latest Update — Heating Up, Police Release Water Cannon on Demonstrators in Front of the Indonesian Parliament Building”.

“The police started to push back the demonstrators in front of the Indonesian parliament building using water cannons to disperse the crowd gathering in front of the Indonesian Parliament Building,” the report’s caption said.

“The police have also put forces on standby inside the area of the parliament building. Demonstrators are throwing various objects at the security forces.”

The caption also included the hashtags “DemoMahasiswa”, “DPRRI” and “RevisiKUHP” — which translate respectively as “StudentDemonstration”, “IndonesianParliament” and “CriminalCodeRevision”.

The picture used in the false video was taken from Kompas TV video’s 19-second mark, while the voice of the female narrator can be heard throughout the original clip.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the clip in the false post (left) and the corresponding scene from the original Kompas TV footage (right):

<span>Screenshot comparison of the clip in the false post (left) and the corresponding scene from the original Kompas TV footage (right)</span>

Screenshot comparison of the clip in the false post (left) and the corresponding scene from the original Kompas TV footage (right)

Keyword searches of the hashtags on social media platform X found a report published by local news organisation Indopos.co.id about a rally in front of parliament in September 2019 to protest proposed changes in Indonesia’s criminal code (archived link).

AFP reported that police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters at the demonstration.

Protests erupted nationwide against a wide-ranging legal overhaul that proposed new laws that would criminalise pre-marital sex, restrict sales of contraceptives, make it illegal to insult the president and toughen the Muslim-majority country’s blasphemy laws.

The Indonesian parliament passed the legislation in December 2022.

Another image taken from the Kompas TV clip was published by the Indonesian news outlet Tribunnews, an affiliate company of Kompas Gramedia group, on September 24, 2019 (archived link).

AFP previously debunked other misinformation related to the 2024 elections here.

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