Posted on: BBC | November 11th, 2018

French President Emmanuel Macron has urged world leaders marking the centenary of the World War One Armistice to reject nationalism.

Addressing leaders in Paris – including US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin – he described it as a «betrayal of patriotism».

«By saying ‘our interests first and never mind the others’ you stamp out the most precious thing a nation has – its moral values,» he said.

Events are taking place worldwide.

Some 9.7 million soldiers and 10 million civilians died in World War One from 1914 to 1918.

What happened in Paris?

Mr Macron and dignitaries marched to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a memorial to France’s fallen under the Arc de Triomphe, in the rain under black umbrellas as church bells tolled through the city.

In a speech lasting nearly 20 minutes, the French leader called on fellow leaders to «fight for peace».

«Ruining this hope with a fascination for withdrawal, violence or domination would be a mistake for which future generations would rightly find us responsible,» he said.

The service ended with the bugle call that was played at 11:00 on 11 November 1918 to signal the end of hostilities on the Western Front.


Sunday afternoon will see Mr Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a peace conference – the Paris Peace Forum – with leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On Saturday, Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel visited the town of Compiègne, north of Paris. They signed a book of remembrance in a railway carriage identical to the one in which the 1918 Armistice was sealed.


President Trump, however, caused controversy by cancelling a trip to a cemetery for the war dead because of bad weather.

On Sunday, just before the leaders assembled, a topless female protester with the words «fake peacemaker» written on her chest came within a few metres of the US president’s motorcade before being apprehended.

Later in the day, a group of about 50 activist groups plan to hold a protest in Paris against his visit.

Which events have already taken place?

In Australia, a ceremony was held at the National War Memorial in Canberra, while in Adelaide an aircraft dropped thousands of red paper poppies.

During his speech in Canberra, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke of the importance of remembrance, saying people need «to learn from the past so that we can better navigate the changing currents of our own times».

In New Zealand, a gun salute took place in the capital, Wellington.

And in India, memorials were held for the 74,000 troops who died fighting on the other side of the world.

«This was a war in which India was not directly involved, yet our soldiers fought world-over, just for the cause of peace,» Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on Sunday.

Meanwhile in the UK, a series of special events is being held to mark the end of the 1914-18 conflict.

For the first time, members of the public chosen by ballot paid their respects at the national memorial in Whitehall, central London.

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