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Vladimir Putin’s handshake and the «royal nap», international media and political exploitation

Following the commemoration of the First World War Armistice in France, many tabloids and newspapers published a series of videos showing King Mohammed VI dozing off at the ceremony. The news was exploited by some newspapers, especially those close to the Polisario.

King Mohammed VI at the commemoration of the first World War Armistrice./Ph. DR
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French, British and Middle Eastern newspapers have covered the commemoration of the Centenary of the First World War Armistice in France. Some of these tabloids and news platforms have chosen to focus on certain videos broadcasted by BFM TV and Russia Today (RT).

Some of these videos showed King Mohammed VI closing his eyes, while US president Donald Trump was giving him a «distinctly unimpressed» look, wrote the Daily Mail. The latter recalls that the scene was caught on camera while French President Emmanuel Macron was delivering a speech through which he «fiercely criticized nationalism».

Meanwhile, British tabloid the Express went farther than that describing Trump's reported reaction as a «furious» one. Middle Eastern newspaper AL Bawaba posted the same video claiming that it «went viral» and was «widely shared among social media users». In the United States, the same footage was relayed by Fox News, a media platform known for being close to the Trump administration.

Covered by newspapers close to the Polisario

The same video was published by pro-Polisario online newspaper Futuro Sahara, indicating that the footage has «overshadowed the highlights of the ceremony». Futuro Sahara has even linked the video to the recent royal proposal made public by the sovereign in his Green March speech and to the autonomy plan rejected by the separatist movement.

Away from the Tindouf camps, several other newspapers, such as Russia Today, commented on the supposed «reaction» of Donald Trump, writing that the latter «can be seen glaring at the Moroccan monarch». Sputnik France also stated that the «king of Morocco could not resist sleep during the speech of Emmanuel Macron, commemorating the centenary of the Armistice, which was disapproved by Donald Trump».

On the other hand, Algérie Patriotique relayed the same news, suggesting that diplomatic relations between Morocco and Russia are deteriorating. The Algerian newspaper questioned «the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin did not shake hands with King Mohammed VI». The same idea was evoked by platforms close to the Polisario.