3 juin 2023

FRANCE: Military parades took place during the bank holidays despite the Delta variant

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Last year, the 14 July military parade was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, however, it took place during the celebration of France's bank holidays, every 14 July, on the Champs-Elysées avenue in Paris, even though the Delta variant is already circulating in the country. But the spectators were subjected to sanitary measures. They were obliged to wear a mask. 

The country is avoiding a fourth wave of the epidemic at all costs, despite the arrival of the new highly contagious variant in the country. As a result, France celebrated its bank holidays with caution. An event still marked by the tradition of the military parade.

Space was very limited for spectators. If in normal times the stands could accommodate 25,000 people, during this 2021 celebration they could only accommodate 10,000 yesterday.

The 2021 national celebration mobilised 5,000 participants, including 4,300 soldiers on foot, 221 vehicles, 200 horses of the Republican Guard, 73 planes and 24 helicopters.

The head of state, Emmanuel Macron, was present at the event, as was the army chief of staff, General François Lecointre.

Winning the future

The theme of this 2021 edition is "winning the future". This is because of the twofold battle that France will have to overcome.  One is the battle against the Covid-19 virus. The other concerns the preparation of armies for tougher engagements by relying on high-tech equipment, according to General Christophe Abad, military governor of Paris.

Griffon armoured vehicle, a new generation troop transport vehicle, was paraded for the first time.  The traditional flypast opened the festival and then followed the foot parade on the Champs-Élysées of the European special forces participating in the Takuba Task Force.

The French also paid tribute to the municipal police officers on the national day. Some of them have been victims of two attacks in recent years. As a reminder, the ram truck attack had killed 86 people on 14 July 2016. So, the attack which took place in the basilica of Nice in October caused the death of 3 people.

The Navy paid tribute to its submariners with the presence of the crew of the nuclear attack submarine Emeraude, returning from a seven-month mission in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.

Armed Forces Medical Corps honoured the 110,000 dead who were serving the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The military parade lasted 2 hours and the ceremony was closed by music made by the choir composed of 120 young people. A firework display lit up the sky in the evening.


Photo credit : RTL