France's Bastille Day celebrations to take place amid tight security due to riot fears

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France's Bastille Day celebrations to take place amid tight security due to riot fears
French national police on the Champs-Elysee near the Arc de Triomphe. Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP

France's annual July 14th celebrations will take place amid tight security this year, with 130,000 police on duty and an early finish to public transport in big cities as authorities worry about a resurgence of riot violence.


Friday marks France's annual Fête nationale - known as Bastille Day in the anglophone world - and this year it will take place just two weeks after the country was shaken by widespread rioting following the death of a teenager at the hands of police.

While the big events such as fireworks displays, the traditional Champs-Elysées parade and the Champs-de-Mars concert will take place as normal, France's interior minister has announced extra security on July 13th and 14th.

Gérald Darmanin announced on Wednesday that 130,000 police will be on duty over the two days, including riot control units, armoured cars and helicopters to contain any disorder.


In addition 34,000 firefighters will be mobilised to deal with any blazes, with an additional 40,000 on standby.

Buses and trams will halt at 10pm in all major towns and cities, although Metro and local rail services will run as normal.

As previously announced, the sale of fireworks to individuals is banned, although organised demonstrations will go ahead. There will be enhanced border controls to check for fireworks in the days to come.

Most towns have opted to go away with the usual Fête nationale fireworks, although some Paris suburbs have cancelled their events because of fears of unrest. The town of Strasbourg has also cancelled displays because of the risk of wildfires. 

What to expect on July 14th in 2023

President Emmanuel Macron has announced that he will not be making his usual TV address to the nation on July 14th, and will instead address the country "in the days to come". 

July 14th falls on a Friday this year, and many people will be taking the opportunity for a long weekend - very heavy traffic is expected on Thursday evening. 


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