Emmanuel Macron paid tribute, Sunday, July 25 in the morning in Papeete (Sunday evening in Paris) to the Polynesians who died for France. The Head of State also celebrated the 80th anniversary of the departure of the Pacific Battalion, Polynesian and Caledonian volunteers who left in 1941 to support Free France. They had notably participated in the battle of Bir Hakeim (Libyan desert) then in the campaign in France. He reviewed the Polynesian troops, before speaking with families of Polynesian soldiers who died or wounded in service.
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About 600 Polynesians enlist for the flag each year, a figure comparable to that of the Île-de-France region, while French Polynesia has only 280,000 inhabitants.
After discussions with the population, often crowned with flowers, Emmanuel Macron was welcomed to the presidency of French Polynesia by troupes of ori Tahiti, traditional dance, to the sound of pahu and toere, local percussions. “I have never had such a moving welcome”, said the head of state, before thanking the dancers in Tahitian: «Thank you». He met with the President of French Polynesia Édouard Fritch and his government. He must then fly to Hiva Oa, an island in the Marquesas archipelago.