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TV wide shots reveal a different perspective on world leaders at largest demonstration in France’s history

January 15, 2015

Around 40 world leaders joined more than one million people in a march to honour the victims of the Paris shootings on Sunday

But while the image of Francois Hollande, David Cameron, Angela Merkel and others linking arms was hailed in a New York Times editorial as showing “unity in outrage”, the display has not been without its own controversies.

Never mind those who did attend – the US President Barack Obama “let the world down” by failing to make the journey to France, according to the front page of the New York Daily News.

Now, a different perspective on the leader’s portion of the march has emerged in the form of a wide shot displayed on French TV news reports.

It shows that the front line of leaders was followed by just over a dozen rows other dignitaries and officials – after which there was a large security presence maintaining a significant gap with the throngs of other marchers.

The measure was presumably taken for security reasons – but political commentators have suggested that it raises doubts as to whether the leaders were really part of the march at all.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

The FT’s Middle East correspondent Borzou Daragahi commented: “Seems world leaders didn’t “lead” Charlie Hebdo marchers in Paris but conducted photo op on empty, guarded street.”

Ian Bremmer, a US political scientist and founder of the Eurasia Group, said: “All those world leaders: Not exactly ‘at’ the Paris rallies.” Another US commentator, Gerry Hassan, called the leaders’ contribution “pseudo-solidarity”.

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