The ceremony, which will include the traditional overflight of the French Air Force, will honor the participation of the military in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic as well as front line health workers, said the Elysée in a press release .
Rather than the traditional soldiers’ march and the presentation of military equipment on the Champs-Elysées on July 14, this year will see a much smaller ceremony on Place de la Concorde, where the parade ends normally, the presidency said.
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The annual parade to mark the assault on the Bastille fortress in Paris on July 14, 1789 has taken place on the Champs-Élysées since the First World War.
It begins at the Arc de Triomphe, a monument to those who fought for France, at Place de la Concorde, where King Louix XVI was beheaded in 1793 during the revolution which overthrew the French monarchy.
This year, the square will host a military ceremony with some 2,000 participants and 2,500 guests, who will meet in strict compliance with the rules of social distancing aimed at stopping the spread of the virus that has killed more than 29,000 people in France to date.
It will include a highlight of the annual air show, the parade, in honor of medical personnel and all others “mobilized against the virus,” announced the Presidential Palace of the Elysée Palace.
The event is unlikely to be open to the public, although this decision may be reassessed if the health situation improves before that date.
Each year, thousands of people, young and old, flock to the Champs-Elysées to see the spectacle of the soldiers, tanks and other weapons of war rushing down the avenue to the marching bands as French flags fly everywhere.
Last year’s parade on the theme of European military cooperation was marred by violent clashes between police and anti-government protesters.