Macron condemns “unforgivable” massacre of 1961 in Algeria, Paris – POLITICO

PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday condemned the killing of dozens of Algerians during a police attack on protests in Paris 60 years ago as “unforgivable” crimes, but he stopped issuing a formal apology for the massacre.

“The repression was brutal, violent and bloody,” he said a statement from the Élysée Palace. “This tragedy was subdued, denied or obliterated for a long time.”

Macron attended a 60th anniversary on the outskirts of Paris in the presence of relatives of the victims, the campaigners and veterans of the Algerian independence movement. He respected a minute’s silence at the Bezons Bridge, where the protest began.

The French president went further than his predecessor François Hollande, who in 2012 had acknowledged that Algerian protesters had been killed during a “bloody repression”.

The exact death toll is still unknown and the extent of the killings was covered. The Élysée acknowledged that several dozen were killed after police broke down at a rally organized by the National Liberation Front, which was fighting against French rule in Algeria. Some estimates suggest that more than 200 Algerians were killed in Paris in the autumn of 1961.

Witnesses say protesters were rounded up by police, beaten or shot. Some drowned after being thrown into the river Seine.

The prefect of the Paris police at the time was Maurice Papon, who was later convicted of crimes against humanity for his role in the deportation of Jews during World War II.

The memorial service takes place at a time of renewed tension between France and Algeria. Macron was recently reported to have described the Algerian government as a “political-military system” that has “rewritten its history” and maintains “a hatred of France.”

Algeria remembered its ambassador in the wake of the comments and banned French planes from flying over its territory.


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