Apple News Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Thursday, Nov 12, 2020

France commemorates Armistice Day under shadow of coronavirus

(Xinhua)    09:51, November 12, 2020

PARIS, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday marked the Armistice Day, 102 years after the end of the first World War (WWI), in a scaled-down celebration due to a stay-at-home order to curb the resurgence of the coronavirus epidemic.

Macron opened the day of remembrance in Paris by laying a wreath at the foot of the statue of Georges Clemenceau, the WWI prime minister and war minister widely hailed in France as "the father of victory" against German-led forces.

Macron, then, headed to the Arc de Triomphe where he performed the traditional lighting of the flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier before the names of 20 servicemen killed since Nov. 2019 were read out.

"On Nov. 11, 1918. At 11 a.m., throughout France, bells and bugles sounded the cease-fire. Millions of soldiers died for France, for our freedom, so that our values live. Never forget," the president tweeted.

For this year's anniversary of WWI end, the streets were deserted and only a few attendees took part in a muted commemoration overshadowed by a grave epidemic situation. Among them are Prime Minister Jean Castex, Defense Minister Florence Parly, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Macron's two predecessors Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande.

France, which counts Europe's biggest COVID-19 infections, has ordered people to stay indoors except for essential journeys, work, exercise, or buying basic products. It's a fresh move to contain the virus, which has infected over 1.8 million people and claimed 42,207 lives in the country.

The restrictive measures went into effect on Oct. 30 and will remain in place till early December.

The Armistice Day this year will end with a Pantheon burial of WWI writer Maurice Genevoix, who wrote five memoirs as a frontline soldier. WWI is one of the bloodiest wars in history with some 10 million soldiers killed in four years.

During a ceremony presided by the French president later in the evening, Genevoix will join Paris's Pantheon mausoleum alongside other eminent personalities who shaped France's national identity, from Voltaire and Rousseau to Alexandre Dumas.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Bianji)

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