Emmanuel Macron calls for united European defense in Bastille Day speech

French President Emmanuel Macron called for a united European defense and security during a Bastille Day celebration on Sunday.

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) .called for a united European defense and security during a Bastille Day celebration on Sunday. Photo by David Silpa

Macron delivered the message on the annual holiday commemorating a group of Parisians that stormed the Bastille prison at the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789, which is celebrated with parades including displays of France’s military forces.

During his address, Macron said Europe has not been as “necessary” as it is now since the end of Worl War II

“Building European defense, in connection with the Atlantic Alliance … is a priority for France,” said Macron. “It is the theme of this parade. Acting together and strengthening our ability to act collectively is one of the challenges that the European Intervention Initiative, along with other key European projects, wants to address.”

The celebration included shows new military technology such as anti-drone guns, miniature autonomous vehicles and French inventor Franky Zapata hovering above the water on a device known as a flyboard.

Macron’s speech was met by boos from some protesters who attended the ceremony Sunday.

Prior to the parade, about 152 people — including some so-called Yellow Vest protesters — were arrested while attempting to stage a demonstration, The Guardian reported.

Police also fired tear gas to disperse protesters from Champs-Elysees after they attempted to block roads near the Arc de Triomphe by dragging metal security barriers and setting garbage cans on fire.

ByDaniel Uria