FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show German Soldiers Marching With Torches After Germany Announced Restrictions For Unvaccinated People?

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows German soldiers marching with torches after Germany announced restrictions for individuals who did not receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Verdict: False

The image is from Oct. 13, several weeks before Germany announced restrictions for unvaccinated individuals. It shows soldiers marching to commemorate the sacrifices made by members of the German military during the Afghanistan War.

Fact Check:

Germany announced restrictions on unvaccinated individuals on Dec. 2, barring them from much of public life, according to BBC News. Since then, some social media users have been sharing an image of what appears to be torch-wielding German soldiers marching in formation at night, claiming it was taken a week after the restrictions were announced.

“One week after Germany announced a lockdown for the unvaccinated, their soldiers are holding a night march with torches,” reads the image’s caption. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims Beijing And Shanghai Haven’t Had Any Coronavirus Cases)

Through a reverse image search, however, Check Your Fact found the photo was taken in October, almost two months before the German restrictions on unvaccinated individuals were announced. The picture is featured in an article from The Local, an English-language German news outlet, which explains it was taken during an Oct.13 ceremony in Berlin that sought to honor German soldiers who risked their lives during the Afghanistan War. The ceremony was criticized by some Germans for its visual similarities to torch-lit marches that occurred in Nazi Germany prior to World War II, the outlet reported.

The photo matches other images and videos from the Oct. 13 ceremony. For example, this image shared on the stock photo website Alamy appears to show the same soldiers from a different angle. The verified Twitter account of the Bundeswehr, Germany’s military, also shared a video depicting the ceremony in which the soldiers carrying the torches are visible.

The German military recently conducted a torch-lit ceremony for former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s farewell ceremony on Dec. 2, according to DW. It was the third time the military performed the torch-lit ceremony, known as the “Zapfenstreich,” for a chancellor in the last 20 years, the outlet reported.

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