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Look At This Breathtaking Picture Of A Child Trying To Stop An Anti-Gay Rally

The picture was taken at one of the largest protests against marriage equality that Mexico has ever seen.

Posted on September 12, 2016, at 6:45 p.m. ET

This picture of a child standing with his arms wide attempting to block an anti-LGBT protest in Mexico has gone viral — but some people are sure it has to be a fake.

Manuel Rodríguez

For backstory, last Saturday saw some of the largest protests against marriage equality ever in Mexico.

Reuters / Stringeru

The marches took place in 19 states and were organized by the National Family Front to protest a proposed amendment to the constitution to allow marriage equality.

The photograph of the boy, taken by journalist Manuel Rodríguez in Celaya, Guanajuato, went viral in a matter of hours.

Rodríguez, who is also a photographer for digital newspaper Al Momento Celaya, uploaded it to his personal Facebook account. "I felt nauseous when I saw so much homophobia all together, but I'd rather take with me the image of the child trying to 'stop' the protesters," he said in the picture's caption.

"Several media outlets congregated on the bridge," Rodríguez told BuzzFeed México. "I saw this little boy walking against the crowd, doing stop signals with his arms, and he called my attention" amid the 11,000-person protest.!3m6!1e1!3m4!1soMD37tOpAipUyzt3hSELmA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

"I decided to take the photograph. The crowd reached him and he was taken aside."

"The little boy continued on to the market. I got off the bridge quickly and I asked him if he was just playing or if he had a motive," Rodríguez recounted.

Reuters / Stinger

The boy, who Rodríguez said was named César, said that his uncle is gay, that he would not want people to hate him, and that this protest was about hate. When Rodríguez tried to ask more questions, the boy’s mother yelled at him and took him away, according to the photographer.

"Hearing those words from a boy who is about 12 years old, the way he expressed himself, really impressed me," said Rodríguez.

Eduardo Verdugo / AP Images

"I didn't think that the photograph would strike such a chord. In fact, I uploaded it to my personal profile to share it with my friends. I'm against this protest organized by the National Family Front, but as a journalist I cannot take a stance, so I uploaded it to my personal profile."

After Rodríguez uploaded it, the photograph was then shared on the Facebook group Celaya Sin Censura, or "Celaya Uncensored" and has garnered mixed opinions.

Facebook: Celaya

"It saddens me more that a page to spread news is so biased when it should be fair to different opinions," one user commented.

And some people have declared the photograph a fake.

Facebook: Celaya

"What a nice photo, with such a good angle and exact timing," another wrote, "as if someone or some photographer encouraged the people to do so."

For the same reason, several media outlets have refused to reproduce the image.

Facebook: Celaya

The photograph was not published by the media outlet where Manuel Rodríguez has worked since its creation. "Other collaborators did not wish to be involved, due to differences in opinion," he told BuzzFeed México.

"Maybe people believe the photograph is fake because there is no statement from the boy," Rodríguez said.

Reuters / Stinger

"Although I believe that [the fear of publishing it] is not because it's false, but rather fear of criticism — the fear of uploading something that is a bit controversial, with a background that cannot be proven, although we could look for the boy and we have tried."

To those who have assumed the photograph was staged, Rodríguez would ask, "How [could I] get the money to do something like that?"

Eduardo Verdugo / AP Images

"What I told someone that said that I had paid the boy is that journalists like me, who cover local news, don't even have money for transportation or food. How are we going to have money to pay for something like this?"

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.