France today (Friday) reaffirmed its loyalty to republicanism at ceremonies marking the first 100 years of unbroken republican government in the country.
France today (Friday) reaffirmed its loyalty to republicanism at ceremonies marking the first 100 years of unbroken republican government in the country. President Georges Pompidou led the centenary celebrations in Paris.
Earlier, in a speech from the steps of the capital's historic Hotel de Ville, Prime Minister Jacques Chaban-Delmas recalled the debt owed by all Frenchmen to the founders of the Third Republic on September 4, 1870.
Despite the inauspicious circumstances that surrounded the birth of the 1870 Republic -- defeat in war, insurrection and territorial loss -- the constitution had lasted longer than the two previous republics, and longer than any other form of government in the country during recent times.
Taking the salute at a brief military parade, President Pompidou and his wife were joined by National Assembly President Alain Poher and Interior Minister Raymond Marcellin.
Behind the scenes, one small incident interrupted the festive atmosphere. Police arrested a small group of die-hard monarchists after they had scattered leaflets and shouted slogans demanding a return to the monarchy.
The parade ended with fireworks trailing brilliant clouds of red, white and blue smoke, while thousands of tiny parachutes bearing French tricolours drifted down from the sky.