Macron admits French massacre of Algerian protesters in Paris in 1961

2021-10-17 10:02:57
Macron admits French massacre of Algerian protesters in Paris in 1961

French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday acknowledged the massacre of Algerian protesters marching in Paris in 1961 against the French occupation of the North African nation.

The crime, which was covered up for decades by French authorities, took place on the night of October 17, 1961 under the command of the notorious Paris police chief Maurice Papon.

Macron acknowledged the massacre while speaking to relatives and activists on the 60th anniversary of the bloodshed, the Elysee said in a statement.

It was the strongest recognition by a French president of a massacre in which many bodies were thrown into the River Seine.

The precise number of victims has never been made clear and some activists fear several hundred people could have been killed. Police also arrested about 12,000 Algerians, beat several to death and shot others at the time.

The rally was called in the final year of France’s increasingly violent attempt to retain Algeria as a North African colony.

Papon was in the 1980s revealed to have been a collaborator with the occupying Nazis in World War II and complicit in the deportation of Jews. He was convicted of crimes against humanity but later released.

Algeria accuses ex- colonial ruler France of ‘genocide’

The acknowledgement comes amid escalating tensions between Algiers and Paris over recent inflammatory remarks by the French president.

Last month, Macron made remarks critical of its former colony during a meeting with descendants of those who fought against France in the Algerian war of independence from 1954-62.

Following Macron’s comments, Algeria accused France of “genocide” and announced the recall of its ambassador from Paris in anger over what it said were “inadmissible” remarks.

“The crimes of colonial France in Algeria are innumerable and fit the strictest definitions of genocide,” Algerian presidency said in a statement.

In an interview with Press TV last week, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said his country will not allow France to interfere in its internal affairs.

“We reject any interference in our domestic affairs,” Lamamra said. “We don’t accept any value judgment on the formation of the Algerian nation.”

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