All photos by Chantelle D’mello
Thousands of Qatar residents gathered in the wee hours of the morning to watch this year’s National Day parade, as a procession of Qatar’s best and bravest made its way down the Corniche thoroughfare.
Attendees began lining up for the 40-minute show as early as 5am – three hours before the main parade was scheduled to begin – to vie and cajole for coveted seats in one of a handful of stands, or for a courtside view behind barricades.
Large groups of families and attendees walked almost a kilometer to access the viewing areas, passing through several checkpoints and a main security area to get to the Corniche. Meanwhile, hundreds of men without families who tried to enter the crowd were sent back by the police.
The pre-parade program included several airborne feats performed by parachuters who waved giant flags, glided in formation and emitted bursts of colored smoke for the audience.
The main parade began at around 8am, and saw thousands of soldiers from the army, navy, air force, and numerous other military divisions march along the allocated area.
Some soldiers mounted camels and horses, while others, like the country’s drug and bomb detection teams, brought along their canine counterparts to join in the day’s celebrations.
Overhead, giant planes, helicopters, and fighter jets swooshed in, breaking the sound barrier, and leaving behind thick lines of colored smoke in their wake.
Emir greets crowd
As always, the highlight of the parade was when Qatar’s Emir – Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani – and the Father Emir – Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani – walked down the Corniche, smiling, waving and shaking hands with the crowd.
Post-parade, families made their way to grassy areas around the Corniche to eat, gather and catch up with friends.
Here’s a guide to what’s happening around town this weekend. And reminder – Sunday, Dec. 20 has been declared a national holiday.
Did you attend the parade? Thoughts?