Old video of Indonesian police training mistakenly shared as farmers’ clash ahead of Indian elections

As India prepared for national elections, a video of a police exercise in Indonesia surfaced in social media posts, falsely claiming it showed clashes between security forces and farmers vying to march on Delhi in a dispute over crop prices. The video was actually filmed months before the protests began and shows police in Indonesia’s Sula Islands conducting a security exercise ahead of the February 2024 presidential election.

“The real news today is that the farmers’ protest struggle is very scary,” reads a Facebook Reel in Hindi shared on March 30, 2024.

The video shows a group of people hurling projectiles at security personnel dressed in riot gear.

Thousands of Indian farmers have been protesting on tractors at the borders of the northern states of Punjab and Haryana since February 2024 to demand a minimum support price for their crops.

The protest hopes to repeat the years-long siege on highways in the capital that has put pressure on people Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government to abandon its agrarian reform plans in 2021.

However, farmers continue to be blocked by police barricades and tear gas shells fired or dropped by drones.

<span>Screenshot of the incorrect post taken on April 24, 2024</span>” data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTEzMDc-/ db131e2e51201c40″/><span></div>
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Screenshot of the incorrect post taken on April 24, 2024

The video surfaced online ahead of India’s marathon six-week election, which began on April 19.

The farmers’ protests played a prominent role in the election campaign of the opposition Indian Congress Party (archived link).

But analysts have long expected Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to win against a fractious opposition alliance whose main party is the Congress.

Indonesian police exercise

A reverse image search found a screenshot of the video published on Indonesian news agency Berita Satu on October 12, 2023 (archived link).

The headline in Indonesian reads: “Sula Islands police conduct security simulation in city ahead of 2024 elections.”

According to the report, on October 12, 2023, police in Indonesia’s Sula Islands held the exercise in the courtyard of the General Election Commission office in Pohea village, North Sanana District, ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the clip shared in fake posts (left) and Berita Satu’s image (right), with the similarities highlighted by AFP:

<span>Screenshot comparison of the clip shared in false posts (left) and Berita Satu’s image (right), with similarities highlighted by AFP</span>” data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTM0OQ–/ 79ca0d8030c26fd”/><span><button class=

Screenshot comparison of the clip shared in false posts (left) and Berita Satu’s image (right), with the similarities highlighted by AFP

An Indonesian-language sign seen in the screenshot and video shared in false posts reads: “City security simulation related to securing the 2023-2024 elections within the jurisdiction of the Sula Islands Police.”

<span>Screenshot from the video showing an Indonesian sign</span>” data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU0Nw–/ d7961036f6b1a33e5cc2″/><span><button class=

Screenshot from the video showing an Indonesian sign

Local news agency Habar Timur quoted the Sula Islands police chief as saying the exercise was aimed at training officials in election security (archived link).