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Misleading
misleading

CLAIM ID

bfe6068e

Black Lives Matter and AntiFa protestors threatened to burn down Washington DC.

The protest was not organised by BLM or AntiFa, and the chant "Burn it down" is not a call to arson.

On February 7, The Epoch Times published an article claiming "Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters and AntiFa agitators marched through Washington on February 6 and threatened people as they ate dinner, according to video footage and reports". Some outlets, including ANINews, further claimed that the protestors were threatening to "burn down DC". The story was picked up by The Washington Examiner, NDT, and other far-right sources known for spreading misinformation. The protest was organized by the Total Liberation Collective, which is not affiliated with either Black Lives Matter nor AntiFa. Although one AntiFa flag was seen at the protest there is no way to know who at the protest is affiliated to what organization.

On February 6, a "DC Queer and Trans Black History Month March and Rally" was organized by the Total Liberation Collective (TLC) and the Palm Collective. TLC describes itself as "a predominantly Black, non-hierarchical organization dedicated to the abolition of all structures of oppression that impede total liberation. TLC vehemently opposes the systems of power that marginalize people all over the globe". The Palm Collective describes itself as a "Black-led DC-based organization of racial justice warriors".

The Epoch Times article cites tweets posted by Andy Ngo, a conservative journalist and a right-wing activist who used videos posted by Brendan Gutenschwager, an independent journalist. We looked at all the videos posted by Gutenschwager, and nowhere does he mention that BLM or AntiFa protestors were involved in the protests. The attribution was made by Ngo, who runs The Post Millennial, a Canadian conservative news website, and is known for writing scare pieces and for being at "war" with AntiFa protestors. The Epoch Times article could have also used a video shot by Gutenschwager which shows protestors carrying the same flag that AntiFa protestors do, however that flag is an "‘Antifascist Action" flag (long for AntiFa) and can be carried by anyone.

Furthermore, the attribution could have been made because of the phrase "If we don't get it, burn it down" which was used by the President of Greater New York Black Lives Matter (BLM) leader Hawk Newsome. However, the phrase "burn it down" is not a literal call to arson. We checked this claim previously and found that Newsome said that if the movement over George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police officers fails to achieve meaningful change during nationwide unrest, they will burn down this system and replace it. The call to 'burn it down' refers to 'systems', and not tangible objects, and thus can't be reasonably construed as a call to arson.

Therefore, based on the evidence listed above, we conclude that this claim is misleading.

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