France trumpets shared European defense on Bastille Day

From the left, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa , French President Emmanuel Macron, his wife Brigitte, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto attend Bastille Day parade Sunday, July 14, 2019 on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

French President Emmanuel Macron has overseen France's annual Bastille Day celebration that this year showcases European defense cooperation

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron has overseen France's annual Bastille Day celebration, which this year showcases European defense cooperation.

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

Although the display included over 4,000 armed forces, 69 planes and 39 helicopters, its biggest crowd-pleaser was a man rocketing through the air on a flyboard device — the invention of French former jet-skiing champion Franky Zapata.

Tensions in the street remain high in Paris following months of demonstrations by the anti-Macron yellow vest protesters who want more help for French workers. On Sunday, television images showed police grabbing one of the movement's leaders, Eric Drouet, as he stood on the sidelines of the parade and escorting him away.

At France's 2017 Bastille Day events, U.S. President Donald Trump, as guest of honor, was so impressed he ordered a military parade in Washington for America's July 4 celebrations.

Macron will later host a lunch at the Elysee Palace with other European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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