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France marks VE day anniversary in shadow of Covid-19

French President Emmanuel Macron and French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe attend a ceremony to mark the end of World War II at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France May 8, 2020.
French President Emmanuel Macron and French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe attend a ceremony to mark the end of World War II at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France May 8, 2020. REUTERS - CHARLES PLATIAU

France on Friday marked the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) day with President Emmanuel Macron attending a scaled-down ceremony on Paris’s Champs-Élysées. Click on the player to see how the commemorations unfolded.

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French President Emmanuel Macron visited the statue of General Charles de Gaulle in Paris before attending a commemoration ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe.

De Gaulle led the Free French Forces during the war from London after his country had been invaded by Germany in 1940. France had been liberated in 1944.

Friday’s commemorations took place on a much smaller scale than normal for such an important anniversary. Marches and parades were considered too risky for World War II veterans who are already at a very advanced age.

“This was supposed to be an important ceremony because it is the 75 years of this Victory in Europe day. The veterans are of course getting older every year and this is probably one of the last great anniversaries that could have taken place with their presence,” said FRANCE 24’s James André, reporting from a nearly deserted Champs-Élysées.

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