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HomeFact CheckFact Check: Video Of Transport Workers' Protest Falsely Linked With Rabi Lamichhane's...

Fact Check: Video Of Transport Workers’ Protest Falsely Linked With Rabi Lamichhane’s Supporters

Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become essential today than ever before.

Claim
A video allegedly shows protest demonstration by supporters of Rastriya Swatantra Party President Rabi Lamichhane.

Fact
The viral video actually shows a protest by transporter entrepreneurs and workers.

A 19-second video clip of a burning vehicle and demonstration has gone viral on TikTok with the claim that the footage shows the protest by the supporters of Rastriya Swatantra Party President Rabi Lamichhane after he was allegedly forbidden from contesting the by-election in Chitwan-2. Newschecker found the claim to be misleading. 

The Election Commission has announced to hold by-elections in Chitwan in constituency-2 on April 23. A seat in the House of Representatives (HoR) from Chitwan-2 has been lying vacant after the Supreme Court on January 27 ruled that Rastriya Swatantra Party President Rabi Lamichhane was not qualified to contest the election. The apex court ruled that Lamichhane failed to complete the due process for reacquiring his Nepali citizenship after renouncing his US citizenship.

Against this backdrop, TikTok user @lovenep2 posted a video showing a burning vehicle and demonstrators converging on a thoroughfare. Text superimposed on the video reads, “We saw this scene [of violent protest] after they said Rabi Lamichhane will not be allowed to contest the election.”  Voice-over, apparently a live reporting from the ground, accompanying the video says, “The vehicle belonging to Balaju Bypass was torched. Police have been firing rubber bullets. When the police arrived here to take the situation under control…”

Screengrab showing the TikTok video.

The video posted on February 13 has garnered 15.7k likes, 569 people have commented and 202 users have shared it until the time of publishing this article.

The archived version of the TikTok video can be seen here

Fact Check /Verification

To check the authenticity of the claim made in the viral video, Newschecker took several keyframes from the viral video and conducted reverse searches. But we didn’t find any relevant results.

Then, taking a clue from the audio of the viral video, we conducted a search on google by using keywords ‘Balaju Bypass police vehicle torched’ which threw up several results. On checking an article published on onlinekhabar.com, we found that Kathmandu’s Balaju-Machhapokhari area had remained tense throughout the day on February 13 due a demonstration by transport workers. The article also carries an image of a burning vehicle whose frame and the background matched a frame from the viral video.

Screengrab of the news article published on onlinekhabar.com.

Transport businessmen and workers had staged violent demonstrations in the Balaju area of Ring Road on February 13 against what they described as “police excesses” while prosecuting the public transport workers for violating traffic rules.

Further, we searched for other videos from the protest in Balaju area by transport workers and found several videos of the agitation and clash between police and demonstrators. On checking a video posted on the YouTube Channel of Lokpath TV, we found several clues that the viral video is from the transport workers’ protest in Balaju Bypass area on February 13. We analysed the videos closely and found several clues such as a tree, an electricity pole and the red mall in the background of the news clip that resembled the background of the viral video showing a burning vehicle.

We also found similar clues on watching a clip of News24 Television about the protest demonstration in Balaju area. On comparing the frames from the viral video and the news footage from Lokpath and News24, we found that they all showed the February 13 protest by transport workers.

This collage shows the comparison of the frames from the news footage and the viral video.

We also checked if there had been any protest by the supporters of Rabi Lamichhane for banning him from contesting the by-election in Chitwan but couldn’t find any relevant result.

Our findings showed that the clip of a burning vehicle actually shows the February 13 protest demonstration by transport workers in Balaju area.

Conclusion

The viral video showing a burning vehicle during the protest by transport workers is falsely shared as the protest by the supporters of Rastriya Swatantra Party President Rabi Lamichhane.

Result: False

Sources
Onlinekhabar.com,13 February, 2023
Lokpath TV /YouTube, 13 February, 2023
News24 Television YouTube, 14 February, 2023
The Kathmandu Post Online, 12 February, 2023


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Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become essential today than ever before.

Sanjeeb Phuyal
Sanjeeb Phuyal
Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become essential today than ever before.

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