Bastille Day marked with fly-past as Emmanuel Macron calls for military review

Drones joined 65 planes and 25 helicopters in the skies of Paris

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France has celebrated Bastille Day in style in Paris with a spectacular parade that included the latest high-tech drones, as President Emmanuel Macron said the war in Ukraine meant the country should review its military capabilities.

The French elite acrobatic flying team, Patrouille de France, released red, white and blue smoke — the colours of the French flag — as they roared over the Louvre.

In gorgeous weather, they soared over the Champs-Elysees as troops marched below.

On the ground, members of the fire brigade and the Saint-Cyr military school marched in the celebrations.

The drones joined 65 planes and 25 helicopters in the skies over Paris as Mr Macron joined the parade in a military vehicle. More than 6,000 people, 200 horses, and 181 vehicles were also took part.

On the eve of Bastille Day, Mr Macron praised Ukraine’s ability to stand up to Russia’s aggression. He also called for a review of France’s military organisation to make it more nimble in the face of changing threats, as well as for a “rethink” of the country's military presence in Africa.

The Patrouille de France perform a fly-over during the Bastille Day military parade. Photo: AFP

“Each and every one of us was struck by the Ukrainian nation’s moral strength that allowed it to hold on despite an initially unfavourable balance of power,” Mr Macron said.

“I’ve asked the minister, the joint chief of staff and the general delegate for armaments to review the pertinence of our organisations, our structures and even the way we look at things … to sometimes be able to make decisions faster, to coordinate better and with efficiency, and to adapt to the evolutions of conflicts.”

The motto of this year’s Bastille events, Share the Flame, is a reference to France hosting the summer Olympic Games in 2024.

The spectacle will close with a fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower.

Some Bastille Day celebrations have been curtailed as the heatwave blanketing the country means tinder-dry foliage is a fire risk. Towns near the country's forests have banned fireworks.

Bastille Day marks the July 14, 1789, storming of the Bastille prison by angry Parisian crowds that helped spark the French Revolution and by extension, a spirit of national unity, thanks to the broad rights granted to citizens in the ensuing years.

Updated: July 14, 2022, 11:22 AM
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