Macron approves creation of French space command

France is joining an international space race that has already seen the US China and Russia throwing extra resources into military activities in space

"Acting together and strengthening our capacity to act collectively: this is particularly the challenge that the European Intervention Initiative, with other essential European projects, targets to meet", he added. The anniversary became a national day in 1880 and is marked by parades, speeches, parties and fireworks.

Flags of the 10 countries of the European Intervention Initiative, a joint military pact created past year, led Sunday's military parade down the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris.

Macron told top military officials and troops due to take part in a huge military parade on Sunday that cyberspace and outer space are "new zones of confrontation". The French-led initiative, which includes Germany, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal, was launched previous year, according to Reuters.

French Gendarmes remove fences next to a burning portable toilet during clashes with protesters on the Champs Elysees avenue after the traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris, France, July 14, 2019.

France's BFM television showed images of police firing tear gas to disperse the protesters, some hooded and trying to block the road with metal barricades, dustbins and other debris. Protesters hurled objects at the police, booed and set bins on fire.

Standing in an open-top command vehicle alongside France's chief of staff General Francois Lecointre, Macron was met with some jeers and whistles from supporters of the "yellow vest" movement who have staged weekly protests against the government since last fall.


Among the foreign airpower taking part in flybys were two British Chinook helicopters, a symbol of British-French defence cooperation even as Brexit looms.

There was no rain despite overcast skies but the president was jeered by "yellow vest" protesters whose weekly, often violent demonstrations appeared on the verge of toppling his government during the winter.

Britain has deployed three of the aircraft and 100 personnel for France's operation in the African Sahel region.

The three helicopters and nearly 100 service personnel have been deployed to the French-led operation in Mali since 2018.

Theresa May was represented by the Cabinet Office minister David Lidington, her de facto deputy, after she cancelled a plan to attend.

The president said the new space command would be created in September and would initially be tasked with "better protecting" French satellites.

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