A video showing what looks like an assassination attempt on a member of the Saudi royal family has been circulating on social media. However, it turns out that’s not the real story at all.

The video shows a large crowd watching as soldiers and two men in civilian clothing get out of a car. They are being escorted by two police cars. Suddenly, gunshots ring out. One of the two men in civilian clothing falls to the ground. The other is quickly pushed into a car. The motorcade takes off. This video was posted on both YouTube and Facebook and has garnered more than 3,8 million views on Twitter.

A staged demonstration  not a real attack

In reality, this wasn’t a real assassination attempt. It was all staged. There are lots of clues. For example, when the shots ring out, the crowd doesn’t panic. No one yells. Instead, people keep on filming with their cellphones as if nothing strange was happening.

If you look closely, you can see one of the men in military uniforms shoot at the ground. At the end of the video, you can hear kids laughing when a soldier climbs through the window of a car.

Moreover, the licence plates on the vehicle aren’t the kind used in Saudi Arabia. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll see that Saudi licence plates are divided into four parts, which isn’t the case with the plates on the cars in the video.

Another clue is that the two men in the video aren’t wearing the style of garments traditionally worn by members of the Saudi royal family. Men in the Saudi royal family tend to wear red-checked keffiyehs (instead of white) and abayas (a long, loose jacket) over their dishdasha (the long piece of clothing traditionally worn by men).

In reality, this scene unfolded on December 12 in Kuwait during an exhibition on defence and aviation. In the top right corner of the video, you can see some of the entrance of Kuwait International Fair, the centre where the exhibition was held.

Soldiers carried out the demo. You can also see the demo featured in this report by the TV channel Al-Hadath (which belongs to Saudi news channel AL-Arabiya).

This report by Saudi television channel Al-Hadath includes the video, starting at 0:10.

Not all social media users fell for the video. Quite a few quickly realised what it was all about.

For the past five years, Kuwait has hosted an annual defence and aviation salon.

Article by Marie Genries (@mariegnrs)