PARIS — France’s annual celebration of Bastille Day on July 14th is a time of national pride, marked by vibrant parades and grand displays of unity. However, this year’s festivities took place against the backdrop of recent unrest and simmering tensions in underprivileged neighborhoods.
The rioting, sparked by the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk, laid bare the deep-seated anger over inequality and racial discrimination faced by many communities in France. In response to the unrest, over 100,000 police were deployed across the country to prevent further outbreaks of violence during the celebrations.
Despite the show of force, some parts of the country saw demonstrations and protests. Residents in neglected housing projects expressed frustration over lack of opportunity and systemic racism, highlighting the stark contrast between the ideals of “liberty, equality, and fraternity” and the realities faced by marginalized communities.
The choice of India as the guest of honor for this year’s parade also sparked controversy, with critics pointing out the absence of human rights issues from the agenda. While France seeks to strengthen international partnerships, it is essential to address concerns related to human rights and inclusivity in such celebrations.
The Bastille Day parade showcased France’s military might and global alliances, including the display of anti-missile batteries destined for Ukraine in the context of Russia’s war in Ukraine. However, it is equally important to acknowledge the challenges faced by citizens within the country and address the issues raised