July 14’s military parade: out of date or respectful?

Every July 14, France’s military parade rolls down the Champs-Elysées while jets streak the sky with the colours of the ‘tricolore’.

The parade is a grand display of power, prestige and patriotism that dates back to 1880 and the consolidation of the third Republic.

For many, it is part of France’s national identity. Others see it through a political lens; France is the only democratic country to organise a military parade on such a scale. The nearest equivalents are in China, Russia and North Korea.

The day itself marks the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, a pivotal moment in the French Revolution.

In 2011, European politician and Green Party member Eva Joly, declared that the parade should be replaced with a citizen’s parade, provoking backlash from then-Prime Minister François Fillon.

We asked two experts about the pros and the cons of this sumptious parade.

 

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