• France's news in English

Politicians attack critic of Bastille Day parade

AFP · 18 Jul 2011, 09:58

Published: 18 Jul 2011 12:04 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Jul 2011 09:58 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

French politicians on the right have turned on the green candidate for next year's presidential vote after she suggested scrapping the traditional July 14th military parade.

Former investigating magistrate Eva Joly, who holds joint French-Norwegian nationality, provoked outrage after suggesting that the Bastille Day event should be replaced by a civic parade.

But as one politician from the ruling right-wing UMP party suggested she go back to Norway, politicians from the opposition Socialists, while rejecting Joly's proposal, defended her against the ruling party's attacks on Friday.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon led the assault on Joly, in comments to reporters in Ivory Coast, where he was visiting for talks with President Alassane Ouattara.

"I think this lady lacks a very longstanding sense of French traditions, French values, French history," Fillon said.

"If every year we pay homage to our armed forces on the national holiday, it's because we are paying homage to an institution which assures the defence of the values ... of liberty, of fraternity, of equality," he added.

It was normal to pay homage to the armed forces, which were vital to French democracy, he argued.

"I think there are very few French people who share Madame Joly's view."

A special advisor to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Henri Guaino, was even sharper.

He described Joly's remarks as "pathetic" and "an insult to all those who, for centuries, have died for this country, for its values, for freedom."

Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire described the remarks as "shocking", and one UMP deputy, Lionel Tardy, said on RTL radio that Joly should "go back to Norway".

Joly made her comments on Thursday, as France celebrated its Bastille Day holiday with the traditional military parade down the Champs Elysees.

Sarkozy, who with other dignitaries watched the march-past, had earlier dedicated this year's holiday to five French soldiers killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan the previous day.

Joly insisted she could not be dismissed as anti-military, having supported the military intervention in Libya.

"I have dreamed that we could replace the (military) parade with a civic parade" where schoolchildren, students and pensioners would march together, "to celebrate the values that unite us," she said.

Several leading figures among the opposition Socialists also rejected her idea, but in less vituperative terms. And some defended her against the attacks from the right.

"Clearly, it's not acceptable," Martine Aubry, one of the contenders for the socialist nomination for the presidency, said of Joly's idea. "It doesn't even make sense," she added.

While she would welcome an event along the lines described by Joly, Bastille Day was the right time to pay homage to the French army, she added.

Segolene Royal, another contender for the socialist presidential nomination, also dismissed the proposal as "a very bad idea".

Green party leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who has not always seen eye-to-eye with Joly, gave her his unqualified backing.

Story continues below…

And Francois Hollande, another Socialist contender for the presidential nomination, while he did not agree with Joly's position, criticised the tone of the prime minister's attack.

"It's Francois Fillon who lacks culture...," he said.

Leading Socialist deputy Pierre Moscovici pressed the attack, calling on Fillon to apologise for his remarks.

Joly, who as a magistrate once led a probe into one of France's biggest corruption scandals, hit back at the criticism late Friday.

"I've lived in France for 50 years and so I'm French," said the 67-year-old politician.

At her age, that probably meant she had lived longer in France than Fillon, she quipped.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

How Paris is rapidly becoming Europe's 'City of Innovation'
Photo: AFP

If you want to start a company then Paris is the place to do it, it seems.

'Jungle' clearance: Migrants begin to leave Calais camp
All photos: AFP

The "Jungle" clearance is underway.

France’s 'Jungle' children arrive in UK
Authorities will start to clear the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp on Monday. Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP file picture

The first group of children from the French "Jungle" migrant camp with no connection to Britain have arrived in the country, the Home Office said Sunday, ahead of the camp's planned demolition.

French FM calls for end to Aleppo 'massacre'
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says the international community cannot ‘come to a negotiation under the bombs’. Photo: Dominick Reuter / AFP file picture

France's foreign minister urged the international community to "do everything" to end the "massacre" in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday after fighting resumed following a 72-hour truce declared by Damascus ally Russia.

Parisians cheer on protesting French police
French police officers on Saturday demonstrated for the fifth night in a row to protest mounting attacks on officers. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

Angry French police have taken to the streets for five nights in a row -- and Parisians have started to cheer them on, reviving scenes last seen following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015.

Scarlett Johansson turns popcorn girl in Paris
US actress Scarlett Johansson greets customers at the Yummy Pop gourmet popcorn shop in the Marais district of Paris. Photo: Benjamin Cremel / AFP

Hollywood superstar Scarlett Johansson swapped the red carpet for a turn behind the counter at her new popcorn shop in Paris on Saturday.

US couple donates huge art collection to Paris
Marlene (centre) and Spencer (right) are donating their collection ‘for the benefit of art lovers’. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

A Texan couple who discovered their love for art during a trip to Paris in the 1970s are to donate the multi-million dollar collection they have amassed since to the French capital.

France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
jobs available