BREAKING NEWS
euronews_icons_loading
Parade of 'paramilitary and public security forces' to celebrate the 73rd founding anniversary of North Korea at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang.

Civil defense forces carrying rifles paraded North Korea's capital overnight in a celebration of the nation's 73rd anniversary that was a marked departure from past militaristic displays.

The parade — overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, wearing a cream suit and visibly slimmer than he was at the start of the year — centered around paramilitary organizations and public security forces protecting Pyongyang instead of the major military units that handle the most important weapons of Kim's nuclear and missile arsenal.

While the North rolled out of its most provocative strategic weapons threatening Asian rivals and the American homeland during parades in January and last October, there was no immediate indication the latest parade showcased ballistic weapons.

Experts say the toned-down event reflected the harsh challenges facing North Korea as its broken, mismanaged economy is further strained by unending U.S.-led sanctions, prolonged border closures because of the coronavirus pandemic, and flooding that caused food shortages in recent years.