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France removes EU flag at Arc de Triomphe amid criticism

By Zarrin Ahmed
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France removes EU flag at Arc de Triomphe amid criticism
The Arc of Triomphe in Paris. Right-wing politicians protested the installation of a European Union flag at the arc. File Photo by Yoan Valat/EPA-EFE

Jan. 3 (UPI) -- France removed a European Union flag at Paris' Arc de Triomphe after the move drew criticism from far-right politicians.

The blue flag of the European Union was raised on New Year's Eve to mark France's taking over of the rotating presidency of the EU Council. France will hold the position for six months.

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President Emmanuel Macron's right-wing rivals called for the removal of the EU flag ahead of the country's presidential election in four months.

Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen tweeted her outrage over the flag on Saturday, calling it an offence to France's heritage and its veterans.

Others joined in their criticism including Eric Zemmour and Valerie Pecresse.

The EU flag was taken down on Sunday. An official at the French presidency said that the flag was only planned to be at the Arc for two days.

Officials said there wasn't a flag there before and that the EU flag didn't replace the French flag.

"We embrace Europe, but that doesn't take anything away from our French identity," Europe Minister Clement Beaune told France 24.

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