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Footage of German farmers' demonstration misrepresented as Texas trucker convoy

A video shared across platforms claims to show 20 miles of tractors and trucks affiliated with the so-called "Take Our Border Back" convoy in the US state of Texas. But the clip predates the American truckers' journey and depicts farmers in Germany protesting plans to cut tax breaks for agriculture.

"Thank you, Texas! The farmers and Truck drivers lining up The Convoy is here! Well, over 20 miles long now!" says text over a video with tens of thousands of views across TikTok.

The clip also spread to other social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and X, formerly Twitter.

"Don't mess with Texas!" says one January 24, 2024 Facebook post sharing the footage. "Texas starting it's (sic) own trucker convoy to defend our border. HONKY HONK!!!!!!"

Another post on X says: "Looks like #Texas is about to start a fire!"

<span>Screenshot from Facebook taken January 31, 2024</span>
Screenshot from Facebook taken January 31, 2024
<span>Screenshot from X taken February 1, 2024</span>
Screenshot from X taken February 1, 2024

The video spread as truckers planned to descend on the area surrounding the small border city of Eagle Pass, a flashpoint for immigration enforcement -- a hot-button issue in the 2024 US election -- amid a standoff between the Biden administration and Republican Governor Greg Abbott.

Texas continued fortifying the banks of the Rio Grande despite a Supreme Court ruling that sided with the federal government in allowing Border Patrol agents to remove concertina wire barriers the state had erected in the area.

Backed by far-right figures, the Take Our Border Back convoy has primarily organized on Telegram. Its first cohort departed January 29 from Virginia and arrived in Dripping Springs, Texas days later, with plans for some truckers to reach Quemado, Texas by February 2 and others to splinter off to Yuma, Arizona (archived here and here).

While the organizers have promised massive numbers, the group comprised roughly 20 vehicles when it left Virginia, journalists tracking the effort reported.

The video shared online also predates the convoy's journey south -- it shows a demonstration filmed in Germany.

German farmers' protest

Reverse image and keyword searches revealed versions of the video posted across platforms as early as January 6 -- weeks before the Take Our Border Back convoy (archived here, here, here and here).

The posts say the clip shows farmers in Germany who have for months protested against the government. Similar demonstrations have spanned much of Europe.

The author of the earliest post AFP found (archived heresaid in a January 9 TikTok message in German that the video was filmed January 5 in Deggendorf, a town in the southeast state of Bavaria. The user said the same thing in response to comments asking where the clip was taken.

AFP could not independently confirm the exact location and timing of the footage, although a license plate in the distance resembles those in Europe rather than the United States.

<span>Screenshot from TikTok taken February 1, 2024, with elements magnified by AFP</span>
Screenshot from TikTok taken February 1, 2024, with elements magnified by AFP

A farmers' protest involving an estimated 850 vehicles did take place in Deggendorf the night of January 5, according to German media and the Bavarian Farmers' Association (archived here, here and here).

The Deggendorf city government's map of their route indicates the rally started at the Festplatz Ackerloh fairgrounds and wound through the city (archived here).

Google Maps photos of Festplatz Ackerloh show an open space with similar street lamps and trees to those in the clip being misrepresented online as footage from Texas (archived here).

<span>Screenshot from Google Maps taken February 1, 2024</span>
Screenshot from Google Maps taken February 1, 2024

Additional videos on TikTok, X and other platforms show vehicles parked together and flashing their lights as in the clip shared online (archived here, here, here, here and here).

AFP geolocated some of those posts to Festplatz Ackerloh or nearby roads (archived herehere and here).

<span>Screenshot from TikTok taken February 1, 2024</span>
Screenshot from TikTok taken February 1, 2024
<span>Screenshot from Google Earth taken February 1, 2024</span>
Screenshot from Google Earth taken February 1, 2024

One January 5 Facebook video of the Deggendorf protest shows a woman wearing what appears to be the same hooded jacket as the person seen filming in the clip (archived here).

<span>Screenshot from TikTok taken February 1, 2024, with elements outlined by AFP</span>
Screenshot from TikTok taken February 1, 2024, with elements outlined by AFP
<span>Screenshot from Facebook taken February 1, 2024, with elements outlined by AFP</span>
Screenshot from Facebook taken February 1, 2024, with elements outlined by AFP

An aerial photo in another post about the event shows a truck resembling the one from the clip with a yellow trailer (archived here).

<span>Screenshot from TikTok taken February 1, 2024, with elements outlined by AFP</span>
Screenshot from TikTok taken February 1, 2024, with elements outlined by AFP
<span>Screenshot from X taken February 1, 2024, with elements outlined by AFP</span>
Screenshot from X taken February 1, 2024, with elements outlined by AFP

AFP has fact-checked other misinformation about the Take Our Border Back convoy here and here.