Mexican forces march in Paris for France national day

14th July 2015, Comments 0 comments

Mexican soldiers marched down Paris's famed Champs-Elysees avenue Tuesday for France's traditional national day military parade under the watchful eye of their president Enrique Pena Nieto.

The Mexican leader was the guest-of-honour this year at France's July 14 parade, but his state visit and presence at the march drew criticism by rights groups slamming abuses by some of his country's security forces.

"Forced disappearances, torture and arbitrary detentions are common practices among Mexican security forces and police," Amnesty International said in a statement.

"(French President) Francois Hollande must remind his guest that these acts cannot remain unpunished."

The Mexican soldiers opened the parade after a fly-over by France's Rafale and Mirage fighter jets, A400M military transport plane and tanker aircraft.

French special forces also joined the march for the first time in recognition of their role in countering the January extremist Islamic attacks in and near Paris, their faces partly hidden by helmets and special sunglasses.

Some had taken part in the January 9 raid on a Jewish supermarket just outside Paris, where one of the attackers shot dead shoppers and held others hostage.

France has been on high alert since the attacks, and soldiers taking part in a nationwide operation to protect sensitive sites followed the special forces in the parade.

After the march, Hollande went on to appear on television for the annual Bastille Day presidential interview, during which he praised a deal reached between Iran and world powers on Tehran's nuclear programme.

He also rejected claims that Greece had been humiliated by a new bailout deal reached after months of negotiations.

© 2015 AFP

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