French National Day celebrations
The ceremony which took place at the Champs Elysée was presided over by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy who was flanked by leaders of 13 African countries that gained independence from France some 50 years ago.
The close to two hour military parade began with the march past of ground troops followed by the motorised battalions while the air force and paratroopers crowned the parade.
The striking aspect of the celebration is the participation, for the first time, of contingents from various Africa militaries who took part in the parade.
A forty man contingent of Paratroopers from the Air Force Battalion in Kutaba, Cameroon took part in the parade.
French officials have described the participation of African troops in the parade as a testament to the “strength of the ties” that united France and its former colonies.
The French national day which is also referred to as the Bastille feast marks the storming of the Bastille in 1789 which is viewed symbolically as the birth of the modern French republic.
It has become a tradition of recent to invite foreign units to march in the parade; in 2004, British troops led the parade to mark the centenary of the Entente Cordiale.
Elvis Teke, CRTV