Published: Mon, November 12, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Matthew Castillo

WATCH Anti-Trump Balloon Fly over Paris for Presidential Remembrance Day Visit

WATCH Anti-Trump Balloon Fly over Paris for Presidential Remembrance Day Visit

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, second right, U.S. President Donald Trump (third right), First lady Melania Trump (centre) attend a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on November 11, 2018.

Macron said that the meeting of 84 world leaders at a ceremony in Paris to commemorate the armistice is a historic moment.

In a veiled dig at US President Donald Trump's America-first policies and skepticism toward multilateral cooperation, Merkel warned that "lack of communication and unwillingness to compromise" can have deadly consequences.

Minutes before the start of the ceremony two topless protesters from the radical feminist group Femen attempted to waylay Trump's motorcade as it rolled up the Champs-Elysees.

For Trump, dressed in a dark blue suit and red tie, the ceremony marked the beginning of a day in which he is scheduled to participate in a luncheon with the world leaders and then visit the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial - a day after he skipped a visit to a different cemetery.

With Trump and other leaders looking on, Macron said nationalism is risky and the "ancient demons" responsible for World War I and millions of deaths are growing stronger.

President Trump recently caused controversy by stating that he is a "nationalist" and noting that there is "nothing wrong" with the word, while speaking at a rally in Houston, Texas.

French officials, however, say - without elaborating - there was a misunderstanding by Trump about Macron's comments, noting the USA president told his French counterpart in their Saturday meeting: "I think we are much closer than it seems".

Separately, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel traveled a similar distance by auto to a commemorative event in northern France. "But I'm not a nationalist".

Apart from Mr Trump's typical detractors at home, some of the fiercest criticism over Saturday's no-show came from Europe's strongest supporters of the U.S. alliance.

Putin meanwhile said he and Trump - at odds over Washington's sanctions and the abandonment of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty - had had a brief but positive conversation during the centenary events. You know what I am? Mr Trump sat across the table from Mr Putin, who instead talked to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the spokesman said.

"The aim of the forum is to show that there are lots of forces in the worldwide system - states, NGOs, foundations, intellectuals, companies - who believe we need a world of rules, an open world and a multilateral world", chief organiser Justin Vaisse told AFP. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited security protocols for the presidential motorcade's solo trip down the grand flag-lined avenue, which was closed to traffic.

He laid a wreath at the Cenotaph war memorial in central London alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May, who chose not to join other world leaders marking the centenary of the Armistice in Paris.

By contrast, in the week ahead of Sunday's commemoration, Macron has been touring First World War battlefields in northern and eastern France, repeatedly warning in speeches of the resurgence of nationalism, saying it threatened the unity so carefully rebuilt in Europe over the past 70 years.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the Paris Peace Forum as part of the commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day, in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. Its role as host of the main global commemoration highlighted the point that the world mustn't stumble into war again, as it did so quickly and catastrophically with World War II.

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