Security for July 14 Bastille Day festivities steps up after recent riots in France Bastille Day, the national holiday of France, commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789, a key event in the French Revolution.
It is celebrated with parades, fireworks, and other festivities across the country. However, this year’s celebrations will be marked by heightened security measures in response to the recent riots that erupted in several cities over social and economic issues.
The French government has announced that it will deploy more than 100,000 police and gendarmes to ensure public order and safety during the holiday. In addition, some areas will have restricted access or traffic, and some public events will be canceled or modified.
The authorities have also urged the public to respect the health protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. The riots that broke out in early July were sparked by the death of a young man in a police chase in Nantes, a city in western France.
The incident triggered protests and clashes with the police, as well as arson and vandalism of public and private property. The violence spread to other cities, such as Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, and Marseille, where some groups of rioters also targeted symbols of the French Republic, such as statues and flags.
The French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the riots as “unacceptable” and vowed to restore calm and order. He also expressed his solidarity with the police and the firemen who were attacked or injured by the rioters. He said that he would not tolerate any violence or disrespect for the law and the institutions of the Republic.
The French Prime Minister Jean Castex also denounced the riots as “intolerable” and said that they were not related to any legitimate social demand or political expression. He said that the government would not give in to any intimidation or provocation from those who seek to undermine the unity and cohesion of the nation.
He also announced that he would present a new plan to fight against urban violence and delinquency in September. Bastille Day is a symbol of freedom, democracy, and fraternity for the French people. It is also an occasion to celebrate the achievements and values of the Republic. Despite the challenges and difficulties posed by the pandemic and the social unrest, the French authorities and citizens hope to enjoy a peaceful and festive holiday this year.