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Pomp and mourning for France on Bastille Day

Pupils of the Ecole Polytechnique, promotion X2016, cross their sowrds as they wait for the start of the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, on July 14, 2017 © AFP / Joel Saget

PARIS, France, Jul 14 – French President Emmanuel Macron will attend a Bastille Day military parade on Friday alongside his American counterpart Donald Trump, before marking the first anniversary of a deadly terror attack in Nice.

The parade on Paris’s Champs-Elysees will commemorate the centenary of the US entering WWI and will feature horses, helicopters, planes and troops.

“This is a wonderful national celebration,” said Trump during a joint news conference with Macron Thursday, adding, “we look very much forward to it. Spectacular.”

“Our two nations are forever joined together by the spirit of revolution and the fight for freedom,” he added.

Macron will give a short speech at the start of the parade to evoke the spirit of a national holiday even though it coincides with the Nice assault’s anniversary, his office said.

Bastille Day military parade in Paris/AFP

France has been under a state of emergency since November 2015, when 130 people were slaughtered in a wave of coordinated violence across Paris, with French lawmakers voting last week to extend it for the sixth time.

More than 130,000 security and emergency service workers have been deployed to protect revellers during this year’s Bastille Day celebrations, according to figures from France’s Interior Ministry.

Terror attacks in France have killed 239 people in eight attacks since January 2015, with Interior Minister Gerard Collomb saying seven terror plots have been foiled since the start of this year.

In Nice, on July 14 last year, a truck ploughed through a crowd on the Promenade des Anglais after a Bastille Day fireworks display, killing 86 people and injuring hundreds more.

Macron will fly to the southern French city once the Paris military parade is over.

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It his first Bastille Day celebration as president.

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