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France's Macron marks Bastille Day with Champs Elysees parade
July 14, 2018, 2:53 pm

France celebrated Bastille Day on Saturday with a colorful military parade in Paris presided by President Emmanuel Macron, and hoped the party would continue on Sunday when the national soccer team meets Croatia in the World Cup final in Russia.

Standing on a military vehicle flanked by motorcycle escorts and led by a cavalry procession, Macron rode down the Champs Elysees, Paris’s most famous boulevard, for his second July 14 parade, cheered by hundreds of spectators.

Bastille Day commemorates the storming of a prison in 1789, a key event in the French Revolution.

After U.S. President Donald Trump in 2017, Macron this year invited the leaders of Japan and Singapore, two Asian nations with long-standing strategic partnership with France.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who canceled to deal with deadly floods at home, was represented by Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

The more than two-hour parade, with some 4,200 soldiers, 220 vehicles and around 100 aircrafts, saw Japanese and Singaporean soldiers take part as guests of honor.

There were two glitches, though, as two motorcycles collided during a demonstration in front of guests, while an Alpha jet from the Air Force Patrouille de France acrobatic unit released a wrong color for the French flag during a formation flight.

France has mobilized around 110,000 security staff for the Bastille Day festivities and World Cup soccer final.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets, from Paris to the smallest of villages, and the celebrations are likely to continue long into Sunday night if France lifts the World Cup for the second time.

“Perhaps it will be us marching on the Champs Elysees tomorrow, we hope,” said Philippe on BFM Television, who traveled to Paris to watch the military parade and plans to return on Sunday to celebrate if France wins.

France marks Bastille Day with spectacular parade

View of the parade on Champs-Elysées

The annual Bastille Day parade - marking the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, an event that helped spark the French Revolution - has been taking place in Paris.

Here are some of the most striking images from the celebrations

Alpha Jets overflying the capital with plumes of smoke in the colours of the French flag

The day's events saw France's Alpha Jets fly past the Arc de Triomphe...

Alpha Jets fly over the Louvre

... and over the Louvre art museum. But the magnificent view was slightly marred by an apparent mix-up of colours representing the French flag.

President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte were there.

President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte were there.

President Macron rides with the French army chief of staff

Mr Macron rode in a jeep alongside the French army chief of staff Gen François Lecointre and the French Republican Guard on the French capital's famous Champs-Elysées avenue.

Earlier this year, Mr Macron introduced a plan to bring back national service for all 16-year-olds as a way of promoting a sense of civic duty and national unity among French youth.

Singaporean troops parading in the boulevard

Singaporean troops, seen here, and Japanese soldiers were also invited to take part in the parade.

Last year US troops participated, marking 100 years since US forces entered World War One, and President Donald Trump was the guest of honour.

Gendarmes, firefighters and other units march

Gendarmes, firefighters and other units joined this year's parade.

The Chasseurs Alpins (Alpine Hunters) march

There were many different colourful uniforms on display - the Alpine Hunters marched in white.

Gendarmes pick up their bikes after colliding

The wrong plume of smoke was not the only mishap - these two gendarmes on motorbikes collided as they traced patterns around the Place de la Concorde.

Mr Macron and the crowd applauded as they righted their bikes.

French republican guard motorcyclist doing a stunt

But things went a little more smoothly for the stunt bikers of the Republican Guard.


Source: BBC

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