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A 'flying soldier' wowed crowds in Paris today when he arrived at France's Bastille Day parade on an 118mph 'Back to the Future'-style hoverboard.

Franky Zapata, 40, brandished an unloaded rifle as a he raced at high speed above world leaders including President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Then he landed comfortably on his so-called Flyboard, which he hopes to sell to the French military.

The leaders saw French inventor and entrepreneur Franky Zapata soar above the Champs-Elysees on a turbine engine-powered flyboard. The former jet-skiing champion, grasping a rifle in a sign of the possible military uses of his device, took to the air in a futuristic showpiece of the annual Bastille Day parade

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Pictured: French soldiers walk down the Champ-Elysees
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Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said that the board would be 'tested for different uses, for example as a flying logistical platform, or indeed as an assault platform.'
Franky Zapata flies on a Flyboard during the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees Avenue with the Eiffel Tower in the background

'A flying soldier!' wrote Lord Edward Llewellyn, Britain's Ambassador to France, as he posted a video of the flight on Twitter.

'Military innovation on display at this morning's Bastille Day parade here this morning in Paris,' Baron Llewellyn added.

Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said that the board would be 'tested for different uses, for example as a flying logistical platform, or indeed as an assault platform.'

Mr Zapata calls his invention the Flyboard Air, and admits it is very similar to the hoverboard used by Marty McFly, played by Michael J Fox, in the Back to the Future films.

The former jet-skiing champion and entrepreneur from Marseille developed the turbine engine powered board in his garage at home.

It can reach speeds of up to 190 kilometres an hour, which is the equivalent of 118mph, and can currently stay in the air for up to 10 minutes.

Mr Zapata is now planning to cross the English Channel on the board, although this would require refuelling on the way.

He hopes to make the trip on July 25, 110 years after French aviator Louis Bleriot completed the first plane flight across the same stretch of sea.

He will allow tests for different kinds of uses, for example as a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform.'

World leaders including German chancellor Angela Merkel, EU commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker, Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte joined President Emmaneul Macron and his wife Brigitte for a day of celebrations in the capital's iconic Champs-Elysees avenue.
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World leaders including German chancellor Angela Merkel, EU commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker, Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (pictured) joined Macron and his wife Brigitte for a day of celebrations in the capital's iconic Champs-Elysees avenue
Macron appeared unfazed by boos and jeers from far-right protesters as he laughed and joked with world leaders and mingled with servicemen and women.

Yellow Vest protesters were removed by police as Macron waved at crowds on the Champs Elysee in Paris from a military command vehicle.

Macron later hosted a lunch with the world leaders while Yellow Vest protesters took to the streets and clashed with riot police.

French police fired tear gas at protesters during a tense standoff in central Paris in the aftermath of the annual Bastille Day military parade.

Officers attempted to disperse dozens of protesters, who chanted anti-government slogans, knocked down security barriers erected for the parade and set fire to refuse bins.

France, in particular Paris, has been rocked since late last year by the 'yellow vest' protest movement against the government of President Emmanuel Macron.

Sunday's violence was the worst seen in central Paris since March.

But the demonstrators in central Paris were not wearing the yellow vests that marked out the movement. Police had earlier not allowed those wearing the garments past barriers and some had carried yellow balloons instead.

The clashes tarnished the July 14 national day that commemorates the 1789 storming of the Bastille fortress in Paris during the French Revolution and is marked every year by a military parade.

Macron sought to showcase European military cooperation in the parade, hosting key EU leaders.

Earlier some protesters had jeered and whistled at Macron as he stood in an open-top command car alongside France's chief of staff General Francois Lecointre.
French anti-riot

Members of the French anti-riot police CRS evacuate members of the public shouting French President down during his review of the troops
Before the current clashes erupted, Paris authorities said 152 people had been detained.

But the parade, which wrapped up at lunchtime, then passed without any hitch.

More than 4,000 members of the armed forces took part in the ceremonial march to the Place de la Concorde, as fighter jets roared overhead in a show of France's military might amid growing tensions with the US.

Standing in an open-top command car alongside France's chief of staff General Francois Lecointre, Macron inspected the waiting forces and waved to the crowds.

There were shouts of 'Macron Resign!' from the Gilets Jaunes - the Yellow Vest movement that infiltrated the heavily policed Sunday morning event.

'The boos and whistles were non-stop and Macron certainly heard them all,' said one of the protesters with the Yellow Vests, who are named after the high visibility jackets they normally wear.

'We managed to get round security by leaving our yellow vests at home, and this allowed our protest to go ahead. It's a humiliating day for Macron.'

Among those manhandled by police during the booing was Eric Douet, one of the unofficial leaders of the Yellow Vests.

Video posted on social media showed him being dragged away from the side of the Champs Elysee before he was formally arrested.

Mr Drouet has called for 'a mass uprising without precedent by all useful and necessary means' against the Macron administration.

This followed President Macron accusing British politicians of 'tearing society apart' by allowing an EU referendum in Britain.

Despite a range of concessions to the Vests including scrapping green taxes on diesel and petrol, they have continue to call for President Macron to step down.

The group, made up of protesters from both the far-right and far-left have regularly rioted on the Champs Elysee, causing millions of pounds worth of damage to restaurants and banks, and looting shops.

Closer European defence cooperation has been one of Macron's key foreign policy aims and the president shows no sign of wavering despite growing political turbulence in Germany and Britain's looming exit from the European Union.

At the 2017 parade, Macron's guest of honour was the freshly-inaugurated US President Donald Trump as the young French leader sought to take the initiative in forming a bond with his counterpart.

But since then ties between Trump and Macron have soured over the US pullout from the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal, as well as France's new law for a tax on digital giants, mostly Trump's administration attacked as 'unfair on the US'.

Macron, who pushed the idea of the European Intervention Initiative (E2I) to undertake missions outside of existing structures like NATO, says European defence cooperation is crucial.

'Never, since the end of World War II has Europe been so important,' Macron said in a statement to mark July 14.

He said the aim of the E2I was to 'act together and reinforce our capacity to act together,' adding: 'Our security and our defence pass through Europe.'

Forces from all nine countries taking part alongside France in the E2I - including Britain and Germany - will be represented at the parade.

Flags of the 10 countries of the European Intervention Initiative led the military parade down the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris.

In a sign of France's ambition to be a leading modern military power under Macron, the president Saturday announced the creation of a national space force command that will eventually be part of the air force.

'We will reinforce our knowledge of the situation in space, we will better protect our satellites, including in an active manner,' Macron said as he announced the plan, which mirrors a US initiative championed by Trump.

Highlighting France's continued commitment to NATO, the alliance's secretary general Jens Stoltenberg was also present at the parade.

A German A400M transport plane and a Spanish C130 will take part in fly-bys today, as well as two British Chinook helicopters.

The Chinooks are a major symbol of British-French defence cooperation even as Brexit looms, with Britain deploying three of the aircraft and 100 personnel for France's operation in the African Sahel region.

Outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May had been expected to attend but Britain is instead represented by senior cabinet minister David Lidington, the Elysee said.

Also present are members of the 5,000-strong Franco-German Brigade (BFA), which was created in 1989 as a symbol of postwar unity between France and Germany, and celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

Merkel, who is battling to keep her grand coalition together at home, will again be under close scrutiny after she suffered three episodes of shaking at official events in recent weeks.

Some 4,300 members of the armed forces, 196 vehicles, 237 horses, 69 planes and 39 helicopters are mobilised for the event in the heart of the French capital.

The former jet-skiing champion, grasping a rifle in a sign of the possible military uses of his device, took to the air in a futuristic showpiece of the annual Bastille Day parade.

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly told France Inter radio ahead of the parade that the flyboard 'can

July 14 commemorates the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution in 1789, and involves a large military parade and fly past.

It is is the national day of France and is commemorated annually to mark the storming of the Bastille, a fortress in Paris used by the French monarchy as a political prison.

On July 14, 1789, approximately 900 French citizens stormed the fort and ultimately captured it, dealing a devastating symbolic and strategic blow to the country's monarchy and sparking the broader French Revolution which ultimately toppled the monarchy which had ruled the nation for centuries.

It ultimately marked the turning point as France transitioned from monarchy to republic, something commemorated every year on the anniversary of the Bastille's seizure by the French people.

The origins of modern Bastille Day celebrations reportedly date back to the late 19th century.

A national feast was held to honour the French republic back in 1878 while the day was made a national holiday two years later in 1800 at the behest of politician Benjamin Raspail.

The most notable modern celebration of Bastille Day is the famed Bastille Day Military Parade, which takes place in Paris on the morning of the holiday.

The parade, the largest and oldest regular military parade in all of Europe, is held on the Champs-Élysées between the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde. The parade is attended by the President of France and various foreign ambassadors and other dignitaries.

Other prominent celebrations include flyovers by the French Air Force and fireworks at the iconic Eiffel Tower on the night of the holiday.

In addition to the jubilant celebrations that take place in Paris and other French cities and towns, a number of notable one-time celebrations have also occurred over the years.

Macron will later host a lunch at the Elysee Palace with other European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.