France commemorates the massacre of Algerians in Paris in 1961

PARIS (AP) – A tribute march was organized in Paris on Sunday for the 60th anniversary of the bloody police crackdown on a demonstration by Algerians in the French capital, during the last year of their war for independence. country with its colonial power.

The commemoration comes after French President Macron admitted that the “crimes” committed on October 17, 1961 – which authorities have sought to cover up for decades – were “inexcusable to the Republic”.

“The crackdown was brutal, violent, bloody” under the orders of the Paris police chief Maurice Papon, Macron said in a statement released on Saturday. About 12,000 Algerians were arrested and dozens killed, “their bodies thrown into the Seine,” the president’s office said.

Historians say at least 120 protesters died, some shot and others drowned, according to Macron’s office. The exact number has never been established because the archives remain partially closed.

Papon later became the highest ranking Frenchman convicted of aiding and abetting crimes against humanity for his role in the deportation of Jews during World War II.

Human rights and anti-racism groups and Algerian associations in France organized a tribute march in Paris on Sunday afternoon. They called on the authorities to further recognize the responsibilities of the French state in the “tragedies and horrors” linked to the Algerian war of independence and to further open up the archives.

Earlier Sunday, the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo attended a tribute ceremony at the Saint-Michel bridge in the city center of the capital.

Macron paid tribute to the victims on Saturday at the Bezons bridge over the Seine, northwest of Paris. He was the first president to attend a massacre commemoration event.

Earlier this year, he announced a decision to speed up the declassification of secret documents related to Algeria’s 1954-62 war for independence from France. The new procedure was introduced in August, Macron’s office said.

The move was part of a series of measures taken by Macron to address France’s brutal history with Algeria, which had been under French rule for 132 years until its independence in 1962.

In 2018, Macron officially recognized the responsibility of the French state in the 1957 death of a dissident in Algeria, Maurice Audin, admitting for the first time the systematic use of torture by the French army during the war.

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