The Ministry of the Royal House, Protocol and Foreign Affairs has announced that it has decided to postpone "all activities, festivities and ceremonies planned on the occasion of the celebration of the 21st anniversary of the accession of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist him, to the Throne of His Glorious Ancestors", because of the situation generated by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, with significant outbreaks that have forced the authorities to confine important population centres once again, such as the city of Tangier, with one million inhabitants. To date, the Kingdom has recorded 16,181 infections, 258 deaths and 13,666 recovered patients, according to Worldometers, the organization in charge of the evolution of the pandemic worldwide.
According to the Moroccan press agency, MAP, "in this context, it was decided to postpone the reception ceremony presided over by HM the King on this glorious occasion, the swearing-in ceremony of the graduated officers in the various military, paramilitary and civilian schools and institutes, the ceremony of the oath of allegiance to Amir Al Muminin, may God preserve him, the torchlight procession organized by the Royal Guard, as well as all the parades and events traditionally attended by a large number of citizens.
The events that will replace the traditional festivities will be a speech by King Mohammed VI to the Alaouite people on 29 July at 9 p.m. local time, which will be broadcast on radio and television; and a reception on 30 July, which will be presided over by the monarch in a symbolic capacity.
This annual celebration commemorates the enthronement of the reigning sovereign. Currently, this event takes place every July 30, the date on which the current king, Mohammed VI, acceded to the kingdom. The first such celebration was held on 18 November 1933 during the sixth year of the reign of the great-great-grandfather of the current king, Sultan Mohamed Yüsuf. A year later the French allowed the celebration of this festival, which has become a symbol of the emotional ties that unite the monarchy and its people.
This is the first time in the reign of Mohamed VI that the Festival of the Throne has been suspended. However, it is not the only measure taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, since the beginning of the pandemic, the Kingdom has had to take a series of measures such as the closure of all mosques in the country.
The monarch underwent heart surgery last June "with complete success", according to a statement issued by his medical team and the MAP agency. The king had to undergo this operation after suffering a relapse in the arrhythmia he has been suffering from at least since 2018. The operation consisted of a "complementary radiofrequency ablation" which achieved "a restoration of normal heart rhythm", according to the official note. The Festival of the Throne was to be Mohamed VI's first public appearance after the operation. However, the pandemic caused by the coronavirus has forced the monarch to postpone this moment and to celebrate his anniversary on the throne through a televised speech.
In addition to canceling this kind of massive events, the Moroccan Ministry of Interior on Wednesday ordered the temporary closure of more than 500 factories for not complying with the health measures imposed by the Executive to reduce the impact of COVID-19.