Macron Admits And Condemns France’s 1961 Crimes Against Algerians

France President, Emmanuel Macron on Saturday condemned and admitted the inhumane treatment of Algerians by his country exactly sixty years ago. 

On the 17th of October 1961, 300 Algerian peaceful protesters were killed in Paris and Macron, in what’s another admittance of old ills by France, said his country committed state violence. 

Although Macron didn’t apologise for the crimes committed on that fateful night in 1961, he admitted to the inglorious behaviour of the Police Chief at the time. 

He said that “the crimes committed that night under the authority of (Paris police prefect) Maurice Papon are inexcusable for the Republic.”

Until now, France has kept its old mistakes under wraps, concealed in the vaingloriousness of power. Macron has now admitted there were mistakes made in the past, including police brutality.

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The French President paid tribute to the Algerians killed and drowned at the Seine River, Northern France as he laid a wreath at the foot of the Pont de Bezons, and interacted with the families of the victims. 

What Happened On This Day In 1960?

In protests organised by the French wing of Algeria’s National Liberation Front party, a curfew was ordered by Police Chief at the time, Papon. The curfew prohibited Algerians from protesting in the evening and a lockdown soon followed. 

More than 12,000 Algerians were arrested by the Police in what’s historically the largest single roundup in a day. Hundreds of others were also assaulted, maimed, killed and drowned in the Seine River. Algerians have always dubbed it a massacre but France has never publicly admitted its wrongdoing despite commemoration of the day in the days of Francois Hollande. 

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France colonised Algeria for 132 years and both country’s relations is replete with stories of suppression. President Macron also recently apologised to Hakri, “Muslim Algerians” who served in the French military during the eight-year War of Independence between 1954 and 1962, for the poor treatment meted out on them. 

The realignment of the French government with Algeria is coming on the back of established malevolence by Paris after the revelations of its memory and truth commission based on the recommendations of Benjamin Stora, a top French historian. 

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