Fact check: False claim that video shows Christmas Eve party on Downing Street in London – USA TODAY

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The claim: Video shows Christmas Eve party on Downing Street

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was the focus of controversy in early December after reports that Christmas parties were held on Downing Street, Johnson’s official residence, while London was under a lockdown in 2020

Social media users then circulated jokes about a supposed party that would be held on Downing Street this year on Christmas Eve to mock the allegations, according to The Independent. 

But a viral video suggests some believed the party did happen.

A three-minute Facebook video shared Dec. 24 shows crowds of people dancing outside Downing Street with loud music and DJ announcers.

“Mad scenes right now at the Downing Street Christmas Eve Party,” reads the caption of the post.

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The clip generated close to 25,000 interactions and over a million views in less than a week. Several social media users shared the post on Facebook and YouTube.

But the claim is false.

The video shows people protesting against lockdown restrictions, as independent fact-checking organizations have noted. Additionally, the protests took place six months ago.

USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment.

Protests against COVID-19 restrictions

The video in the Facebook post shows the Freedom to Dance march that took place June 27, meant to urge British government officials to reopen nightclubs and entertainment venues after Johnson’s decision to extend a COVID-19 lockdown.

Save Our Scene, a campaign group “for the music and hospitality sectors,” arranged the protest, according to Reuters. A video of the protest can be found on YouTube.

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Johnson implemented a strategy in late February to pull England out of lockdown, according to BBC News.

The final component of the strategy, which involved lifting restrictions on nightclubs, performances and other events, was originally supposed to occur June 21.

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The delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus hit the United Kingdom in mid-May. Amid concerns over the surge in cases, Johnson extended the deadline to initiate the final stage until July 19, BBC News reported.

The protests also came as the music industry was facing a decline due to COVID-19, according to BBC News. The protesting had nothing do to with the recent allegations concerning the Christmas parties.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a video shows a Christmas Eve party on Downing Street. The video shows anti-lockdown protesters dancing outside Downing Street in June and urging government officials to reopen nightclubs.

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