France removes EU flag from Arc de Triomphe

Macron’s opponents caused an uproar

French authorities took down a temporary installation of the European Union flag from the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris on Sunday, after rightwing opponents of President Emmanuel Macron accused him of “erasing” French identity.

The giant blue flag was raised in place of a French flag on New Year’s Eve to mark France’s turn at the rotating presidency of the EU Council.

The arch, a monument to war dead, and other landmarks including the Eiffel Tower and the Pantheon are also being illuminated with blue lights for the remainder of this week.

But Mr. Macron’s rightwing rivals for the presidential election four months away seized on the removal of the tricolor flag, calling it an affront to France’s heritage and its veterans.

“Preside over Europe yes, erase French identity no!” tweeted Valerie Pecresse, the conservative candidate who polls indicate could be the main challenger to Mr. Macron in the upcoming vote.

She urged him to restore the French flag, saying, “We owe it to our soldiers who spilled their blood for it.”

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