Social Media Claim

Hyde Park climate protest aftermath post is misleading

A Facebook post from October 21, 2019 shows a photo of London's Hyde Park filled with rubbish, which it claims was the aftermath of a climate rally.

The Statement

AAP FactCheck examined a Facebook post from October 21, 2019 by The Greens Little Bag of Stupidity which featured a photo of a park filled with rubbish. A caption in the image reads, “Aftermath of climate change rallye (sic) in London Hyde Park.” The Facebook post is captioned, “#Auspol”.

The Greens Little Bag of Stupidity page has more than 4700 likes and claims, “The Greens Party is the most irresponsible and ignorant political party in Australia. It is time to rid this nation of their STUPIDITY.”

The post has been shared more than 190 times and attracted more than 30 comments and 300 reactions.

The photo resurfaced in September 2019 after the Global Strike 4 Climate event when the Australian Youth Coal Coalition claimed it was climate protesters who left rubbish in Sydney’s Hyde Park.

The Analysis

A series of global protest marches were staged in 2019 to support stronger climate action. In March the School Strike for Climate event saw more than a million people rally while the Global Strike 4 Climate event in September drew millions.

The image of rubbish strewn was taken in London’s Hyde Park. It first appeared in a Twitter post by London charity Royal Parks on April 23, 2019 which stated, “There's a lot of incorrect information doing the Twitter rounds this morning. This photo is the result of an unofficial event in Hyde Park on Saturday, not the #ExtinctionRebellion protestors in Marble Arch. It costs us millions to clear #litter every year. Please take it home.” Royal Park’s tweet confirmed the litter was not by Extinction Rebellion climate protesters but rather a “result from an unofficial event”.

Extinction Rebellion describes itself as an “international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimise the risk of social collapse”. The group held a five-day event near Hyde Park from April 15-20, 2019, marching from Marble Arch to Britain's parliament to call for MPs to “discuss climate change policies”.

THTC - The Hemp Trading Company, a UK based ethical clothing label which uses hemp and other eco-friendly materials, posted the same image of Hyde Park strewn with rubbish on April 21, 2019. The caption originally read, “This is #HydePark after #420. Ashamed is not the word. With #extinctionrebellion not yards away, so many of you couldn’t be bothered to clean up after yourselves. Ironic for a movement that holds a plant in such high regard. #cannabiscommunity you can do better - you need to do better.”

The page updated the caption to say the Extinction Rebellion protesters had helped clean up the rubbish following the Hyde Park 420 event. “EDIT: Posted this in the comments, but all this ended up being cleaned up by a crew from Extinction Rebellion, which included the absolute eco-warrior legend, Swampy!”

THTC - The Hemp Trading Company went on to post a second update to clarify that while the climate protesters were nearby, the Hyde Park 420 event attendees were the ones responsible for the rubbish, not theExtinction Rebellion protesters.

“IMPORTANT EDIT: a lot of people are misreading this post. This was the aftermath of Hyde Park 420 - and was *cleaned up* by Extinction Rebellion crew. THTC is nothing but supportive of XR. Please read *all* the post copy before flying off the handle, people.”

Extinction Rebellion also tweeted a statement on April 22, 2019 to say there was “a totally separate event that took place in Hyde park. #ExtinctionRebellion activists went to help tidy up anyway because it grossed us out as much as it does you.”

The photo resurfaced in September 2019 following the Global Strike 4 Climate event after the Australian Youth Coal Coalition claimed it was climate protesters who were responsible for leaving rubbish in Sydney’s Hyde Park.

The news site 10 daily reported that social media users pointed out the image was not from the Sydney event. The post was later removed from the Australian Youth Coal Coalition page.

The Verdict

Based on the evidence, AAP FactCheck found the Facebook post did show a photo of London’s Hyde Park strewn with rubbish. However the post was miscaptioned to falsely claim that climate protesters were responsible for the rubbish.

  • Mixture - The claim of the content is a mixture of accurate and inaccurate, or the primary claim is misleading or incomplete.

First published October 25, 2019, 17:03 AEST