France to create space command within air force - Macron

Nellie Chapman
July 14, 2019

French President Emmanuel Macron announced Saturday the country's Air Force will soon include a space militarycommand.

Tanks rolling on the Champs-Elysees avenue during the Bastille Day parade in Paris, France, Sunday, July 14, 2019.

"The construction of a Europe of defence, in connection with the Atlantic alliance whose 70th anniversary we are celebrating, is a priority for France", he added. "It is the theme of this parade", he said.

There was no rain despite overcast skies but the president was jeered by "yellow vest" protesters whose weekly, often violent demonstrations appeared on the verge of toppling his government during the winter.

Flags of the 10 countries of the European Intervention Initiative, a joint military pact created past year, led Sunday's military parade down the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris.

Meanwhile, French inventor and entrepreneur Franky Zapata showed off his futuristic flyboard, soaring above the Champs Elysees and the assembled leaders.

Some 4,300 members of the armed forces, 196 vehicles, 237 horses, 69 planes and 39 helicopters were mobilised for the event in the heart of the French capital.

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European leaders in attendance included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

At the 2017 parade, Macron's guest of honour was the freshly-inaugurated US President Donald Trump as the young French leader sought to take the initiative in forming a bond with his counterpart.

President Macron also talked of reinforcing strategic autonomy within a European framework, which analysts see as an attempt to make sure the European Union is not edged out by American and other competition.

A Yellow Vests protest hits the streets of Paris on Sunday, 14 July, as Bastille Day celebrations take place across France.

Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, one of the key events of the French Revolution.

Festivities are not just held in France but around the world where French nationals live.

The European Intervention Initiative is a 10-country coalition of European militaries ready to react to crises.

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