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 celebration AFP

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.