No, this video doesn’t show African migrants arriving on a Spanish beach

·2-min read

A video posted on social media in May claims to show migrants from Africa jumping off a boat that is pulling up to a Spanish shoreline. The scene actually took place not in Spain, but in Puerto Rico, and shows people arriving from Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The video shows a group of men jumping off a wooden boat and running along the beach, as they are pursued by police officers. People on the beach try to help them, shouting at them in Spanish to run and directing them where to go.

The video below was published on Facebook on May 19 and has been viewed 7.6 million times. The caption, written in Arabic, says "#Video The moment when African migrants arrive on the Spanish coast."

The Senegalese Facebook page Teledakar also shared the video, but without context, implying that it happened in Senegal.

A quick reverse image search (click here to see how to do it yourself) using a screen capture from the video brings up a number of different posts online and in Spanish-speaking media. That’s how we found out that what’s happening in the video didn’t take place in Spain or in Senegal, but in Puerto Rico. The men arriving in the boat are not African, but Haitian and Dominican.

Several media were quick to take up the video, like the Puerto Rican daily newspapers Diario Libre or Hoy, and they described what had happened: a wooden boat full of migrants came from the Dominican Republic and landed on a beach in Rincon, Puerto Rico, on May 16.

The Arabic-language media Fatabyyano published a fact-checking article of one version of the video that had been published with an Arabic caption. It was seen more than 3 million times and said that the events took place in Spain.

An extract from the video was also shared on TikTok and viewed more than 13 million times. The clip also made the rounds on Twitter. Different versions of the video can be found online: it was filmed from different angles, as can be seen in this version on Facebook. There is also a longer version, such as this 4-minute video published on YouTube. In it, we can see what happens after the people have made it onto the beach.

The United States Customs and Border Protection agency also retweeted the video, saying that the boat landing was dangerous and risked the lives of the migrants, those on the beach and others who were present. The retweet said that border control agents had arrested 17 people during the incident.

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