Storm after Green's Eva Joly calls for end to Bastille Day military parade

French Green parties' coalition presidential candidate Eva Joly causes political storm over her call for the annual July 14 military parade to end.
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The vast majority of France's politicians are not amused - former judge and Green presidential candidate Eva Joly wants the annual military parade on July 14 to stop, and for "children and pensioners" to march instead.

A charismatic Green politician has done a rare thing and united the entire political spectrum against her - for daring to suggest the annual "Bastille Day" military parade should be scrapped.

Every year the French celebrate their national day - or "Fête Nationale" - on July 14 by watching soldiers, sailors and airmen trooping down the Champs Elysées in Paris.

A day after this year's festivities, Eva Joly, a Green politician and contender in the 2012 presidential election, said she wanted the annual show of military strength scrapped in favour of a "citizen's parade".

Joly, a diminutive Norwegian-born anti-corruption campaigner and former investigating magistrate, told BFM TV: "This parade is something from the past. I want to see children, students and seniors parading together."

But to make that statement in the week that six French soldiers were killed in Afghanistan - the single-biggest loss of life for the French army since 2008 - was ill-timed and controversial. The condemnation was immediate.

On the extreme right, National Front (FN) leader Marine le Pen told RTL radio that Joly, who came to France in the 1960's as an au pair and later obtained citizenship, "failed completely to understand the strong link that exists between the French people and their armed forces."

Even politicians of less extreme political orientations made reference to the fact that she had not been born in France.

Lionel Tardy, Haute-Savoie Member of Parliament for the ruling (centre-right) UMP party tweeted on Thursday night: "Eva Joly wants to scrap the July 14 parade - it's time for her to go back to Norway!"

 

Read more of this story from France 24.

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