A military parade was held in Tunis on Monday (2 June) to mark the 25th anniversary of President Bourguiba's return from exile.
SV President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia shaking hands with diplomats and guests. (4 SHOTS)
SV EXTERIOR Crowd at parade knocking over barriers.
GV Motorcycle display going past official rostrum.
GV Troops move past rostrum in camouflaged vehicles.
SV Officials on rostrum.
GV Police march past.
GV Crowds hanging from trees and rooftop.
GV Armed vehicles and tanks drive past rostrum. (5 SHOTS)
GV Crowd sitting on roof-top.
GV Rocket launches pass rostrum.
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Background: A military parade was held in Tunis on Monday (2 June) to mark the 25th anniversary of President Bourguiba's return from exile. A year after his return Habib Bourguiba led Tunisia to independence from France. But Monday's celebrations were marred by the President's illness.
SYNOPSIS: The previous day, in Carthage, President Bourguiba was well enough to attend a reception for diplomats and government officials. But he was forced to miss the military parade in Tunis. His doctors ordered two days of complete rest for the President, who has been suffering from fatigue. Tunisia's head of state is 77-years old.
At the parade the public -- at times over-enthusiastic in their efforts to see the day's events -- had their first glimpse of some of the army's modern weapons. Units from the army, police and gendarmerie took part in the parade.
President Bourguiba's absence from the rostrum accentuated the problem of succession facing the country. Only last month, Tunisia's Prime Minister for a decade, Hedi Nouria, was incapacitated by a stroke.
The Education Minister, Mohammed M'zali, was quickly named as Mr. Nouria's temporary replacement. But Mr. Nouria, although he remains Premier and President Bourguiba's successor, has increased political uncertainly in Tunisia. And the President's illness made matters worse. The West considers Tunisia a moderate state with two radical nations -- Libya and Algeria -- on either side. Arms have been supplied to the Bourguiba government following a raid by Libyan-backed dissidents on a southern Tunisian town in January.
Anti-aircraft missiles were among the weaponry on display at the parade. Armoured personnel carriers and helicopters have been supplied by the United States. More helicopters have been promised by Italy, and the French are delivering six transport planes.