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Debunked: No, a Nazi flag was not flown in Belfast on VE day

The picture shared in a Facebook post is real, but it is from July 2015.

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A FACEBOOK POST associating a Nazi flag flying in Northern Ireland with VE day celebrations was shared over the weekend. 

The image in the post is real, but it is from 2015 when the flag was briefly put up before being taken down by local residents a short time later. 

Victory in Europe (VE) day takes place on 8 May to mark the end of World War II in Europe on this day in 1945.

It was marked this year in the UK in a number of ways, including with jets tearing across the sky and a contentious conga line formed in one English town. 

One post on Facebook has claimed that in Belfast, a Nazi flag was flown. 

Here is the full post.

belfast image Facebook post about flags in Belfast.

The post indicates that this flag was flown on VE day or at least recently, but the image in the post is from 2015. 

The BBC reported at the time that a number of flags, including one featuring a swastika, had been put on lamp posts in a housing estate in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim. This is about 20 kilometres outside Belfast. 

The flags were put up near a loyalist bonfire site alongside paramilitary flags and the Union Jack. 

It was reported that the flags were only up for a short amount of time before members of the community went out to the street and removed them. 

Peter Robinson, who was leader of the Democratic Unionist Party at the time, tweeted to “commend the residents who removed” the flags and said it was “shameful” they were ever put up. 

There is no evidence on social media or in news reports of Nazi flags flying in Belfast this year. The image used in the Facebook post is the same as that used in the BBC report from July 2015. 

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There is a lot of false news and scaremongering being spread in Ireland at the moment about coronavirus. Here are some practical ways for you to assess whether the messages that you’re seeing – especially on WhatsApp – are true or not. 

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STOP, THINK AND CHECK 

Look at where it’s coming from. Is it someone you know? Do they have a source for the information (e.g. the HSE website) or are they just saying that the information comes from someone they know? A lot of the false news being spread right now is from people claiming that messages from ‘a friend’ of theirs. Have a look yourself – do a quick Google search and see if the information is being reported elsewhere. 

Secondly, get the whole story, not just a headline. A lot of these messages have got vague information (“all the doctors at this hospital are panicking”) and don’t mention specific details. This is often – but not always a sign – that it may not be accurate. 

Finally, see how you feel after reading it. A lot of these false messages are designed to make people feel panicked. They’re deliberately manipulating your feelings to make you more likely to share it. If you feel panicked after reading something, check it out and see if it really is true.

TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here

Have you gotten a message on WhatsApp or Facebook or Twitter about coronavirus that you’re not sure about and want us to check it out? Message or mail us and we’ll look into debunking it. WhatsApp: 085 221 4696 or Email: answers@thejournal.ie. 

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