Protesters march through downtown Lisbon
Protesters march through Lisbon during a demonstration by teachers over pay and conditions. Image by AP PHOTO

WTF! Street protests are not related to the WEF

William Ton February 17, 2023
WHAT WAS CLAIMED

Thousands in Spain, Israel and Portugal have taken to the streets in protest against the effects of World Economic Forum globalism.

OUR VERDICT

False. The protests were about domestic matters in each nation including legal system reforms, healthcare and the education sector.

Social media posts claim thousands of people took to the streets in Israel, Spain and Portugal to protest against the effects of the World Economic Forum (WEF), a non-governmental organisation based in Switzerland.

An Australian Facebook user posted a series of TikTok videos on February 14, 2023, showing rallies in Israel, Spain and Portugal with the headline saying people were protesting against “the effects of WEF globalism”.

However, all three rallies held over the weekend of February 11 and 12 related to domestic matters, not the WEF or globalisation.

A screenshot from one of the Facebook videos.
 Protesters in Israel are rallying over plans to change the legal system, not “globalism”. 

The protest in Israel was against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government plans to reform the judiciary.

Spain’s rally was concerned with the Madrid regional government’s handling of the public healthcare system.

People massed in Portugal’s capital Lisbon over the education sector, with teachers concerned about pay, career advancement and rising inflation.

While it could be argued globalisation can have an impact on inflation, many experts say it is negligible and internal monetary policy has a greater effect. 

Additionally, AAP FactCheck did not find any reference to the WEF in any reports about the three protests.

The original videos were shared online by Facebook blog group Politicki Magazin Srbija, whose name appears throughout the three videos.

The group’s videos included captions describing the reasons behind each protest in Tel Aviv, Madrid and Lisbon.

Israelis took to the streets on February 11 following weeks of demonstrations across multiple cities to express their opposition to the Netanyahu government’s plans to limit the powers of the courts because of “overreach of judges”.

Photos from the demonstration along the Derech Menachem Begin thoroughfare in Tel Aviv match with the landmarks seen in the video including the HaYovel Tower.

Drone footage from the protest also showed the same landmarks including a distinctive light pole in the foreground and a banner unfurled atop the thoroughfare.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
 Protesters are unhappy about Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to reform the judicial system in Israel. 

Health workers in the Spanish capital held largescale demonstrations on February 12 against the regional government over poor staffing conditions and favouring private health providers over the public system.

Spain’s public health system is largely the responsibility of regional governments. At least a quarter of a million demonstrators converged in Madrid’s Plaza de Cibeles, the second mass health worker protest since November.

Photos from the event share similarities with the video, including two parked vans towards the bottom right of the Cibeles Fountain. A white van can be seen parked behind a blue van which matches images from news reports

In Portugal, thousands of teachers marched in Lisbon for the third time in a month calling for better pay and career pathways to keep up with the country’s rocketing inflation.

Protesters on February 11 held large white letters which spelled out “RESPEITO!” (respect) in the video which was also seen in pictures and video news coverage from the same event.

AAP FactCheck has previously debunked claims linking the WEF to a range of conspiracy theories, see here, here, here, here and here.

The Verdict

The claim that thousands in Spain, Israel and Portugal took to the streets in protest against the effects of World Economic Forum globalism is false.

The protest in Israel was related to the government’s proposed judiciary changes. Spanish healthcare workers were demonstrating against healthcare cuts, while Portuguese teachers were rallying for better pay and conditions. While globalisation can have an impact on inflation, it was not the focus of the protests.

False ÔÇô The claim is inaccurate.

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