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Hollande booed by some at French Bastille Day parade

French President François Hollande, Champs Elysées, 14 July 2014
French President François Hollande, Champs Elysées, 14 July 2014

Thousands gathered in Paris for France’s traditional Bastille Day military parade, on Monday while some among the crowd booed when French President François Hollande arrived to inspect the troops.

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There were a few angry exchanges between people in the crowd over the reception accorded to Hollande. 

The parade is held on 14 July every year, to mark the day when the Bastille Prison was stormed by the French people during the French Revolution of 1789.

This year the parade was attended by soldiers from dozens of nations once involved in World War I, including Senegal, Britain and Japan.

Hundreds of doves were released by young people from the nations involved as a symbol of peace.

"This July 14th is not a July 14th like others," Hollande said on the eve of the parade, pointing out that 100 years ago, "soldiers from around the world" came "to save us."

Transport and fighter planes flew before the start of a ground parade on the Champs Elysees avenue composed of nearly 4,000 forces, 285 vehicles and more than 240 horses, as thousands of onlookers cheered.

The parade comes a day after France announced it was officially ending its military offensive in Mali that rid the north of the country from the grip of Islamists, replacing it with an operation spanning the wider Sahel region to combat extremist violence.

A major interview with President Hollande will be broadcast after the parade, in line with French tradition.
 

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