France Scales Down Bastille Day Parade in Concession to Virus

Updated: 2020-07-14 13:03:08

PARIS—France held a scaled-down annual Bastille Day celebration on Tuesday, with none of the usual tanks and troops parading down Paris’s Champs Elysees avenue, in a concession to the COVID-19 epidemic still stalking Europe.

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Paris mayor Anne Hidlago, French Health Minister Olivier Veran, Austrian Health minister Rudolf Anschober, Swiss Health minister Alain Berset, President of the French Assembly Richard Ferrand, French Prime Minister Jean Castex, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron, President of the French Senate Gerard Larcher, German Health Minister Jens Spahn, Luxembourg Health minister Paulette Lenert, French Defence Minister Florence Parly and French Junior Minister of Remembrance and Veterans Affairs Genevieve Darrieussecq applaud at the end of the annual Bastille Day military ceremony on the Place de la Concorde in Paris, on July 14, 2020. (Ludovic Marin/Reuters)

Instead, President Emmanuel Macron, standing in the back of a military jeep, reviewed ranks of socially-distanced troops in the Place de la Concorde square after a flypast by military aircraft.

“I wish, with all the French, with the armies themselves, to pay a vibrant tribute to health workers and those who, in all sectors, have enabled public, social, and economic life to continue,” Macron said in message released ahead of the parade.

“The dedication, tenacity, courage, solidarity that emerged strongly everywhere, in our cities as in our countryside, command admiration.”

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France’s President Emmanuel Macron and France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex review troops before the start of the Bastille Day military parade honouring French health workers and their dedication in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Paris, France, on July 14, 2020. (Christophe Ena/Reuters)

It is the first time since 1980 that the annual parade has not been held along the Champs Elysees.

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France’s President Emmanuel Macron and France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex review troops before the start of the Bastille Day military parade honouring French health workers and their dedication in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Paris, France, on July 14, 2020. (Christophe Ena/Reuters)

Spectators on Tuesday were not allowed near Place de la Concorde, Paris’s largest square, to avoid the spread of the disease that has killed at least 30,000 people in France.

The parade kicked off with the traditional flypast by the country’s air force, with acrobatic jets trailing blue, white and red smoke. Dignitaries in the reviewing stands were seated at a distance from each other.

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Alpha jets from the French Air Force Patrouille de France fly forming the colours of the French flag during the Bastille Day celebrations on Place de la Concorde in Paris, France, on July 14, 2020. (Benoit Tessier/Reuters)

Traditionally, the national holiday is rounded off with a fireworks display, with thousands of people gathering in the area around the Eiffel Tower to watch.

The fireworks will go ahead this year, but the parkland around the tower will be closed to the public.

By Sybille de La Hamaide

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source : www.theepochtimes.com
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