Vietnam has celebrated the 60th anniversary of their historic victory over France in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Viet Minh forces overran the French garrison in Dien Bien Phu on 7 May 1954 after a 56-day siege, forcing the French government to abandon colonial rule in Indochina.

Left: Men holding national and communist flags march during the parade. Right: Dien Bien Phu veteran Bui Hoang Linh, 82, leaves after attending the anniversary celebrationAFP
Ethnic minority women parade with guns as Vietnam marks the 60th anniversary of their victory over FranceAFP
People parade on a float during official celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Dien Bien PhuAFP
Veterans march during the 60th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu battle, when Viet Minh forces over-ran the French garrison after a 56-day siege, forcing the French government to abandon its colonial rule in IndochinaReuters
Vietnamese veterans walk around the former headquarters of the French military command in Dien Bien PhuReuters
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Visitors walk around a crater caused by the explosion of some 1,000 kg of explosives used by Vietnamese troops to destroy the French troops' stronghold on Eliane 2 hill in Dien Bien Phu in 1954AFP

The bloody 56-day battle took an estimated 10,000 Vietnamese lives. About 3,000 soldiers fighting under the French flag died or went missing.

The Viet Minh army surrounded the French garrison and repeatedly bombarded it and the men trapped inside. Charles Piroth, the French artillery commander, was so ashamed by his tactical error that he committed suicide by blowing himself up with a grenade.

The Vietnamese victory led to the signing of the 1954 Geneva Accords, in which France agreed to withdraw its troops from all of its colonies in south east Asia. However, they insisted that Vietnam should be divided into the Communist north under Ho Chi Minh, and the non-Communist south under Emperor Bao Dai. This partition eventually led to the Vietnam War.

French parachutists watch comrades being dropped over Dien Bien Phu, an enemy stronghold which was captured by the paratroopers during the Indochina war. However they were subsequently besieged and defeated by the Viet MinhGetty
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A Vietnamese parachutist appears shell-shocked during the fighting in the Dien Bien Phu areaGetty
6 April 1954: French soldiers escort captured Viet Minh soldiers to prisonAFP
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14 April 1954: Viet Minh soldiers attack French positions in the trenches aroundAFP
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28 April1954: French General de Castries talks with an officer as they look at a map inside their underground headquarters. Nine days later the garrison fell to the Viet Minh after a bloody 57-day siegeAFP
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4 May 1954: French soldiers take cover in a trench while the Viet Minh bombard their positionsAFP
Vietnamese troops run past the bodies of French soldiers killed during an attack on a French stronghold on Eliane HillAFP
7 May 1954: A Vietnamese soldier wave a flag after capturing the French command post in Dien Bien Phu. The fighting began March 13, 1954, and 56 days later, on 7 May, shell-shocked survivors of the French garrison hoisted the white flag to signal the end of one of the greatest battles of the 20th centuryAFP
Captured French soldiers, escorted by Vietnamese troops, walk to a prisoner-of-war camp in Dien Bien PhuAFP