Algeria put its military strength on parade on Thursday (1 Nov.) and included a flypast of Soviet-built MIG 25 strike aircraft.
Algeria put its military strength on parade on Thursday (1 Nov.) and included a flypast of Soviet-built MIG 25 strike aircraft. A three-hour parade in bright sunshine along the Algiers seafront was the highlight of celebrations to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the start of Algeria's war of independence.
SYNOPSIS: The day's festivities were attended by about one hundred and forty heads of state including Liberian President William Tolbert, this year's Chairman of the Organisation of African Unity. He was greeted by Algerian President Chadli Benjedid.
The Algerian government is placing great importance on the anniversary celebrations, which according to Information Minister Abdelhamid Mehri is a symbol of modern Algeria's march forward.
This military parade was one of the highlights of three days of celebrations which included sporting, artistic and cultural events. It was the first military parade in ten years and according to Reuters News Agency allowed Western armaments experts to gain an up-to-date view of the north African state's armed capability.
The celebrations commemorate the day in November 1954 when forty guerrilla attacks throughout Algeria signalled the start of organised armed resistance against French rule. In the eight years of war that followed, one-and-a-half million Algerians were killed. It was General Charles de Gaulle who finally granted independence in 1962, despite vigorous opposition by French settlers and some parts of the French army.
President Benjedid used the anniversary festivities as a forum to call for a political solution to the Western Sahara conflict. In his first interview since he succeeded the late President Houari Boumedienne he said Algeria sought peace and stability.
Thursday's parade brought together prominent figures from many countries, including Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap, who shook hands with United States President Carter's representative, Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, after the display.