Image From Gaza Protests Goes Viral

Twitter users compared the image to famous revolutionary painting 'Liberty Leading the People'

An image from the ongoing border protests in Gaza went viral this week as Twitter users likened it to Eugene Delacroix's famous French Revolution painting "Liberty Leading the People."

Al Jazeera identified the man in the photograph as 20-year-old Aed Abu Amro.

Palestinians throw stones and burn tyres in response to Israeli forces' intervention as they gather to support the “maritime demonstration” to break the Gaza blockade by sea with vessels in Gaza City, Gaza on October 22, 2018
Mustafa Hassona / Anadolu Agency

"I was surprised this picture of me went viral," he told the pan-Arab broadcaster.

"I participate in protests on a weekly basis, sometimes more. I didn't even know there was a photographer near me.

"The flag I was carrying is the same one I always hold in all the other protests I've attended. My friends make fun of me, saying it is easier to throw rocks without holding a flag in the other hand, but I got used to it."

This is not the first time the painting has been at the center of Middle East politics this year. In April, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Louvre museum and took him to see the painting - in what many saw as a political gesture.

The image is very politically charged as it was inspired by the July Revolution of 1830 that saw protesters overthrow the inept ruling French royal, Charles X.

"It's an allegorical and revolutionary painting that promotes the republic," Francois Gere, a historian who is head of the French Institute for Strategic Analysis, told AFP.