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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 August, 2004, 20:48 GMT 21:48 UK
Paris marks liberation from Nazis
Flag raised on Eiffel Tower
The flag raising marked emotional events in 1944
Thousands of Parisians have marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Paris in World War II.

People turned out to watch the military parades, and later attended concerts and street parties.

Later, at the main ceremony held at the city hall, French President Jacques Chirac paid a solemn tribute to those who lost their lives in the uprising.

Sixty years ago, the Nazi troops who had occupied the French capital for four years, surrendered.

The city's liberation of Paris came less than three months after the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy.

It was a hugely symbolic event after four years of collaboration with the Nazis.

But Parisians paid a heavy price for their 10-day uprising against the Germans. More than 1,000 civilians - including members of the French resistance - were killed.

Unlike D-Day, this anniversary was a largely French celebration - a tribute to the men and women whose courage restored France's national pride, says the BBC's Peter Biles in Paris.

For the younger generation, the liberation of Paris still matters, he says.

"Paris is of course the capital of France, and for me it's a symbol of the liberation of France as a whole. What people remember the most I think about the liberation of Paris is the images of the people so happy to be liberated," 23-year-old Gabriel Mougere told the BBC.

Torn flag

The celebrations kicked off with six firefighters raising the French flag on the Eiffel Tower in a re-enactment of events in 1944.

The German forces had torn down the French tricolour from the tower when they arrived in the city.

The liberation of Paris is the victory of the Resistance and the people of Paris, together with French and Allied armies
French President Jacques Chirac

On 25 August 1944, it was raised once more.

Robert Duriaux, the son of firefighter Henri Duriaux who hoisted the flag in 1944, performed the same role in the re-enactment on Wednesday.

Two columns of vehicles, one French and one American, retraced the soldiers' journey into the capital.

The arrival of the French 2nd Armoured division - the famed 2nd DB - and the 4th American Infantry Division set off an explosion of joy in the city.

Later, President Chirac inspected the troops and presented medals to veterans to commemorate their part in the city's liberation. He walked through the crowds, shaking hands with onlookers.

At the city hall, he told the flag-waving crowd: "The liberation of Paris is the victory of the Resistance and the people of Paris, together with French and Allied armies."

The words spoken by General Charles de Gaulle, who led the anti-Nazi French forces, were repeated: "Paris. Paris outraged. Paris broken. Paris martyred. But Paris liberated."

The day ended with street parties. Despite the rain, thousands of Parisians donned 1940s-style clothes and converged on the place de la Bastille and the Luxembourg gardens.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Allan Little
"The spirit of 1944 invoked today"



SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Paris marks liberation
25 Aug 04  |  In Pictures
In pictures: Liberation of Paris
23 Aug 04  |  In Pictures
European press review
25 Aug 04  |  Europe


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