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
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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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.
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.
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.
Our fact-check sources:
- Reuters, Dec. 27, Fact Check-Video does not show spoof Christmas Eve party outside British government HQ
- Reuters, June 27, Show must go on, say dancing protesters urging Britain to fully reopen
- The Guardian, June 26, Met police brace for ‘busy weekend’ of major London protests
- Reuters, June 11, UK PM Johnson plans to delay lockdown lifting until July 19 – The Sun
- BBC News, June 12, 21 June: End of England’s Covid lockdown could be delayed by one month
- Britannica, accessed Dec. 29, 10 Downing Street
- New Musical Express, June 28, Thousands line the streets of London for Save Our Scene protest against club closures
- CNBC, July 12, UK government confirms plan to lift lockdown measures in England despite fears over delta surge
- Yale Medicine, Dec. 21, 5 Things To Know About the Delta Variant
- BBC News, Oct. 19, Covid-19: New mutation of Delta variant under close watch in UK
- BBC News, Feb. 22, Lockdown: Boris Johnson unveils plan to end England restrictions by 21 June
- BBC News, June 14, Covid: Lockdown easing in England delayed to 19 July
- Yahoo News, Dec. 10, Downing Street cancels plans for Christmas party while telling public to carry on with theirs
- The Independent, Dec. 10, 450,000 people are attending a Downing St ‘Christmas rave’ organised on Facebook
- BBC News, Oct. 19, One in three music industry jobs were lost during pandemic
- Meoko London Digital via YouTube, June 27, Freedom To Dance March, London 27/06/2021
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