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Dublin: 16 °C Wednesday 17 July, 2019

#Bastille Day Dispute

# bastille-day-dispute - Wednesday 14 July, 2010

FRANCE IS CELEBRATING the symbolic birth of the Republic today amid protests.

The annual Bastille Day celebrations went ahead with a parade through the streets of Paris.

In a move that has been usual in recent years, French President Nicolas Sarkozy invited other nations to take part in the celebrations; this year several African nations were invited to include troops in the parade.

Ivory Coast was also invited but, as the former colony has had strained relations with France in recent years, the Ivoirian defence minister attended in place of troops.

The armies were celebrating 50 years of independence for France.

Human rights groups have been angered by the official presence of some nations, claiming that some present should be facing war crimes allegations instead of celebrating on Parisian streets.

The International Federation of Human Rights League (FIDH) wrote to Sarkozy expressing its “serious concern” at the presence of some who they said were responsible of “grave human rights violations.”

Sarkozy said that the “blood bond” between the nation and the African troops who had fought and died for France during two World Wars was being celebrated, and denied that he is experiencing “colonial nostalgia.”

The presence of troops has also been blasted by critics who say it gives the impression that France granted independence for African countries who fought hard for freedom.

Yet more criticism was directed at the government for spending lavishly on the celebrations as the average Frenchman is suffering bitter economic problems – but despite this, celebrations continued as planned.

French nationals and Francophiles also have a  chance to celebrate tonight the Bastille Day Ball in Dublin.