While grandiose and colorful, this year’s pomp-filled Bastille Day parade in the French capital wasn’t free of embarrassing fails. And some netizens even suspected Russians may be involved.
France celebrated Bastille Day on Saturday, July 14 with a massive military parade on the Champs Elysee, which was attended by President Emmanuel Macron. Bastille Day commemorates the storming of a prison in 1789, a key event in French history that heralded the foundation of a post-monarchic republic.
Standing on a military pickup and flanked by a motorcycle escort, Macron rode down the Champs Elysees, cheered by countless spectators. However, the pomp-filled event did not go as smoothly as expected.
At one stage, two French gendarmerie motorbikes collided several meters away from Macron’s podium. The riders were part of a carefully choreographed performance, but it turned out that some of them had miscalculated trajectory of their bike.
After falling on the cobblestoned area, they righted their vehicles to applause from Macron and his top brass.
Later in the parade, another apparent hiccup occurred during a flyover – the most-anticipated part of any military show.
Nine warplanes from the Air Force Patrouille de France traversed the skies over Paris, spraying the colors of the French flag. However, one of the jets on the left of the formation dispersed red smoke instead of blue. It’s unclear if there was a reason for this display, or if it was the result of a malfunction. However, this new version of the French national banner – which resembled the Russian flag from a certain angle – prompted some angry comments online.
The two-hour parade incorporated some 4,200 troops, 220 vehicles and around 100 warplanes, along with Japanese and Singaporean soldiers who were invited as honorary guests. As part of heightened security measures, French authorities deployed around 110,000 security officers for the Bastille Day festivities and World Cup final, according to Reuters.
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