A video showing the arrest of a man dressed as Santa Claus is being used to fuel false theory that he was arrested for not wearing a mask in a Christmas market. The incident took place in Stralsund, Germany.
The viral video has once again stirred the debate about wearing masks in public places in wake of the undying pandemic.
Who is the Maskless Santa Claus?
The clip shows a man dressed as Santa Claus being approached by a group of German policemen. A sign reading 2G, in relation to Germany's ongoing pandemic curbs, is visible on his costume. The man is seen arguing with the policemen when suddenly he is led away by the cops to the patrol car.
"Police arrested "Santa Claus" today at a Christmas market in Germany because he was not wearing a mask," read a Twitter post carrying the video.
"They didn't arrest Santa because they care that much that he wasn't wearing a mask. They arrested Santa to demoralize you. In this case, your children," wrote a user.
"No Christmas this year! German Police arrested Santa Claus," expressed a user.
"No more Christmas in Germany! Police arrested Santa Claus at a Christmas market in Germany (City of Stralsund) for not wearing a face mask," wrote another.
Here is the Truth
Debunking the claim being made under the garb of the viral clip, Reuters stated that the man dressed as Santa Claus was arrested after he refused to show his identification.
As per the outlet, in a statement issued by the Stralsund Police Department on December 14, it was claimed that the man was part of a group gathered for an unregistered meeting at the city's market square. The 65-member group intended to protest against the COVID-19 restrictions. "He was not used as Santa Claus at the Christmas market there," the statement said. The police had asked for the contact details of the attendees, because per local law a "non-registered meeting constitutes a criminal offense for its chair under the Assembly Act," the statement claimed.
"The footage circulating online shows the man in the Santa costume being accompanied by officers to the patrol car to determine his identity, after he refused to give his name," the statement said.
The man who was later released following the confirmation of identity, was suspected of previous offences related to previous protests against the Covid-19 measures, claimed the outlet.