The 14th of July, known as Bastille Day in English-speaking countries, is the French National Day. It commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, a turning point in the French Revolution. Every year, a grand military parade takes place on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. While the parade is a symbol of national pride and is meticulously organized, accidents and incidents can happen during such large-scale events. Here are five accidents that have occurred during the 14th July Parade in Paris:
- 2019 Motorbike Collision: During the 2019 parade, two motorbike police officers from different units collided while demonstrating a choreographed routine. Fortunately, neither of the officers was seriously injured, and they quickly got up and resumed their positions.
- 2002 Assassination Attempt: In 2002, a far-right extremist named Maxime Brunerie attempted to assassinate then-President Jacques Chirac during the parade. He pulled out a rifle from a guitar case and fired a shot, but the bullet missed the president. Bystanders and police quickly subdued Brunerie.
- Alpha Jet Smoke Issue (2018): In 2018, an Alpha Jet from the Patrouille de France, the French Air Force’s aerobatic demonstration team, mistakenly released red smoke instead of blue as part of the tricolor (blue, white, red) smoke trail over the Champs-Élysées. This was a minor error but was widely noticed and commented upon.
- Parachutist Collision (2004): In 2004, two parachutists collided mid-air during their descent towards the Champs-Élysées. One of the parachutists was injured and had to be taken to the hospital.
- Vehicle Malfunctions: Over the years, there have been occasional malfunctions of military vehicles during the parade. For instance, in some years, tanks or armored vehicles have broken down or experienced technical difficulties, causing slight disruptions to the parade’s flow.
It’s worth noting that while these incidents occurred, the 14th July Parade remains a significant event in France, showcasing the country’s military prowess and unity. The parade is attended by thousands of spectators, including international dignitaries, and is broadcasted to millions more on television.