France trumpets shared European defense on Bastille Day

International

French paratroopers march on the Champs-Elysees avenue during the Bastille Day parade in Paris, France, Sunday July 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS (AP) — France’s annual Bastille Day celebration became a showcase for European defense cooperation Sunday as other national leaders joined President Emmanuel Macron in Paris to inspect the troops marching in the country’s annual military parade.

Flags of the 10 European countries that are in a joint military pact spearheaded by Macron last year led contingents of French and foreign armed forces from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs-Elysees avenue.

France has had a Bastille Day parade since 1880, and it’s customary for a foreign leader to be the guest of honor. The guest of honor in 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump, came away so impressed by the spectacle he ordered a military parade in Washington for America’s independence day celebration.

In Paris, the focus this year was the European Defense Initiative, a coalition formed last year to prepare for possible military action outside of NATO.

The heads of state of Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands and Finland watched from the ceremonial viewing stand as 4,000 military personnel, 69 military airplanes and 39 helicopters passed by or overhead.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the invitation to celebrate France’s national holiday “is a symbol for an intensified European cooperation” and “a big gesture toward European defense policy.”

The biggest crowd-pleaser, though, was the man who rocketed through the air on a flying hoverboard. The inventor, former jet-skiing champion Franky Zapata, held a rifle as he zoomed over the parade route on a Flyboard.

Tensions were high on the streets of Paris following eight months of anti-Macron demonstrations by the so-called yellow vest movement seeking more financial help for French workers.

Several hundred yellow vest activists — without their trademark fluorescent emergency jackets — gathered on the margins of the parade.

Television images showed police grabbing one of the movement’s leaders, Eric Drouet, as he stood peacefully on the sidelines and escorting him away.

Later in the day, riot police squads and groups of young people scuffled amid security barricades along the parade route. Officers fired tear gas to clear the streets after some people set trash cans on fire.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Clear

Abbeville

32°F Clear Feels like 24°
Wind
10 mph N
Humidity
60%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

A few passing clouds, otherwise generally clear. Record low temperatures expected. Low near 25F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph.
24°F A few passing clouds, otherwise generally clear. Record low temperatures expected. Low near 25F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph.
Wind
12 mph NNE
Precip
0%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Full
Clear

Crowley

34°F Clear Feels like 25°
Wind
13 mph NNE
Humidity
59%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Clear to partly cloudy. Record low temperatures expected. Low near 25F. Winds NNE at 10 to 20 mph.
24°F Clear to partly cloudy. Record low temperatures expected. Low near 25F. Winds NNE at 10 to 20 mph.
Wind
12 mph NNE
Precip
0%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Full
Clear

Opelousas

31°F Clear Feels like 21°
Wind
12 mph NNE
Humidity
58%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

A few clouds. Record low temperatures expected. Low 24F. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph.
24°F A few clouds. Record low temperatures expected. Low 24F. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph.
Wind
12 mph NNE
Precip
0%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Full
Clear

Breaux Bridge

33°F Clear Feels like 22°
Wind
18 mph NNE
Humidity
64%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

A few passing clouds. Record low temperatures expected. Low near 25F. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph.
24°F A few passing clouds. Record low temperatures expected. Low near 25F. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph.
Wind
12 mph NNE
Precip
0%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Full
Clear

New Iberia

33°F Clear Feels like 23°
Wind
16 mph N
Humidity
72%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

A few clouds from time to time. Low 34F. Winds light and variable.
26°F A few clouds from time to time. Low 34F. Winds light and variable.
Wind
7 mph NE
Precip
0%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Full

Sidebar

Trending Stories