Screenshot of the false post, taken on April 2, 2024

A picture of a mass running event in Ethiopia was misrepresented online as a rally in India’s capital staged by supporters of a jailed opposition leader in March 2024. The image surfaced with the false claim as thousands took to the streets of Delhi to protest the detention of Arvind Kejriwal, a key leader in an alliance formed to compete against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India’s upcoming national elections.

The picture, showing a long stretch of an avenue filled with a massive crowd, was shared on social media platform X on March 31.

It surfaced the same day supporters of Kejriwal, Delhi’s chief minister, rallied in the capital to protest his arrest in connection with a long-running corruption probe, allegations he has denied.

His supporters said the arrest was aimed at sidelining challengers to Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the marathon six-week national elections beginning April 19.

The post falsely claimed the picture showed a rally for Kejriwal in the Ramlila Maidan public ground at the capital.

“Scenes outside Ram Lilla Maidan at 12 PM Today. Sea of Yellow Army marching towards Ramlilla Maidan in support of Arvind Kejriwal at INDIA Rally. BJP shivering,” it said.

<span>Screenshot of the false post, taken on April 2, 2024</span><span></div></div></div><div class=
Screenshot of the false post, taken on April 2, 2024

The picture was also shared with a similar false claim elsewhere on X as well as on Facebook here and here. It actually shows attendees of the Great Ethiopian Run in Addis Ababa, the capital of the east African country.

Mass running event

A reverse image search on Google found the picture shared in a post on X by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia on January 23, 2022 (archived link).

The post, which included three other pictures, was captioned: “#GreatEthiopianRun. The biggest running event in #Africa. Take part in it next time and have fun!” It did not indicate when the picture was taken.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the picture falsely shared online (left) and the one published by Ethiopia’s foreign ministry (right):

<span>Screenshot comparison</span><span><button class=

Screenshot comparison

The same picture was earlier published in an article about tourism in Ethiopia published on CNN Travel on April 4, 2017 (archived link).

The article credited the picture to “Ethiopia Tourism Organization”. Its caption read: “The annual Great Ethiopian Run in Addis Ababa is popular among tourists.”

A similar photo was posted on the verified Facebook page of the Great Ethiopian Run on May 24, 2016 as part of a collage that showed the running event throughout the years (archived link).

The photo was overlaid with text that indicated it was taken in 2010. It was not clear if the picture circulating online was taken in the same year but both show the same city skyline in the background.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the picture circulating online (left) and the photo in the collage (right) with the similarities highlighted by AFP:

The location of the photo in the collage published on the Great Ethiopian Run Facebook page corresponds to Google Maps imagery of an avenue near the Meskel Square in Addis Ababa (archived link).

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo (left) and an image from Google Maps (right) with the corresponding structures highlighted:

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Screenshot comparison

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