On the Mediterranean island of Corsica, several thousand people demonstrated their loyalty to France in rallies on Friday (9 September) to mark the 34th anniversary of the island's liberation by Free French Forces from German and Italian occupation during World War Two.
GV PAN: Demonstrators assembled in front of the Palace of Justice in Bastia.
SV: Officials wearing sashes
CU & SV: Officials wearing sashes mounting platform and shake hands with men holding flags. (TWO SHOTS)
SV: Demonstrators assembled behind French Communist Party banner
LV PAN: Other demonstrators assembled on the roadside at Palace of Justice with banners (THREE SHOTS)
LV & CU: Demonstrators marching down the main blvd. Paoli (TWO SHOTS)
SV & LV PAN: Demonstrators assembled at Saint Nicolas Square in front of memorial for dead (TWO SHOTS)
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Background: On the Mediterranean island of Corsica, several thousand people demonstrated their loyalty to France in rallies on Friday (9 September) to mark the 34th anniversary of the island's liberation by Free French Forces from German and Italian occupation during World War Two.
SYNOPSIS: The rallies, were held in all the big towns on the island. Demonstrators gathered at he main war monuments. Local officials taking part in a demonstration in Bastia, emphasised their support for continued unity with France, by wearing French tricolour sashes.
The demonstrations were largely backed by the French Communist Party, which seeks strong support in Corsica. The crowds repeatedly sang the French national anthem and waved tricolour banners. Passions have been running high in Corsica, where separatists have been seeking independence through a bombing campaign. The attacks are the work of the Corsican National Liberation Front. Claims of French neglect of the island's problems, and the fear that Corsicans will lose their national identity have inflamed separatist sentiment. Last year there were nearly 400 bomb attacks against government buildings. But a backlash on the island has been developing. Recently the number of bomb attacks against the cars and homes of Corsican nationalists has increased, leading to fears among security officials of an escalation on the Northern Ireland pattern.