French president Hollande acknowledges 1961 massacre of Algerians


This is a French video on the 1961 massacre of Algerians. It says about itself:

Commemoration and demonstration for the victims of the massacre of Algerians in Paris on the 17th of October 1961.

By Antoine Lerougetel and Alex Lantier in France:

French president Hollande acknowledges 1961 massacre of Algerians in Paris

29 October 2012

On the 51st anniversary of the police massacre of hundreds of unarmed Algerian protesters in Paris, French Socialist Party (PS) president François Hollande offered the first official recognition by the French government that the massacre actually occurred.

His brief communiqué stated: “On October 17, 1961, Algerians who were demonstrating for the right to independence were killed in an act of bloody repression. The Republic recognizes lucidly these facts. Fifty-one years after the tragedy, I pay tribute to the memory of the victims.”

The massacre took place during Algeria’s war for independence against France, when the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) called a peaceful protest in Paris against a curfew for “Muslim Algerians” imposed by then-President Charles de Gaulle. Some 30,000 Algerians marched. They were attacked by police under the orders of Paris prefect Maurice Papon, a former official in France’s fascist Vichy regime who played a major role in the deportation of Jews to Nazi Germany during World War II.

Large numbers of Algerian demonstrators, who had come to a peaceful protest with their entire families, were murdered–shot, drowned in the Seine River, or beaten to death. The exact number of victims is unknown, as police archives have not been made public, a key demand of victims’ relatives and survivors of the massacre. Historian Jean-Luc Einodi, who wrote La Bataille de Paris (The Battle of Paris) about the massacre, estimates the death toll at 250, though Papon’s absurd tally of 3 dead and 64 wounded still stands as the French state’s official toll. (French filmmaker Alain Tasma made a moving film in 2005, Nuit noire (October 17, 1961), about the incident.)

Police arrested 11,538 demonstrators and detained them in locations throughout Paris, including the Vél D’Hiv cycling stadium–where, 19 years before, Paris police under the orders of René Bousquet had detained thousands of Jews before sending them to Nazi death camps.

President Francois Hollande has acknowledged the brutality of France’s colonisation of Algeria, but stopped short of a full apology: here.

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8 thoughts on “French president Hollande acknowledges 1961 massacre of Algerians

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