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.

New French president says out of Afghanistan

This video from the USA, about an earlier peace demonstration, is called U.S./NATO Out of Afghanistan NOW! – CHICAGO 10/8/2011.

By Max J. Rosenthal in the USA:

Francois Hollande, French President-Elect, Confirms Afghanistan Exit In 2012

05/07/2012 4:56 pm Updated: 05/07/2012 4:58 pm

After his election to the French presidency on Sunday, Francois Hollande wasted no time in following through on one of his highest-profile campaign pledges.

Hollande‘s communications director, Manuel Valls, confirmed to the Telegraph on Monday that France will “announce the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan between now and the end of the year.” The announcement will take place at the NATO summit being held in Chicago on May 20 and 21.

It is to be hoped that the other NATO politicians in Chicago will follow France‘s good example. Stimulated to do so by lots of pro-peace demonstrators in the streets of Chicago, whose free speech rights should not be destroyed by police violence.

Members of the International Security Assistance Force, the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, agreed in 2010 to end their combat role at the end of 2014 while slowly transferring control of sections of the country to Afghan security forces. Hollande, however, pledged a much more rapid withdrawal than envisioned by NATO during his run against outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, a foreign policy advisor to Hollande and potential defense minister, told Reuters last month that “French combat troops had no business in Afghanistan now and a pullout should be executed within eight months.”

France had 3,308 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan as of April 12, 2012, making it the fifth-largest contributor to the war effort. While NATO has attempted to downplay past announcements of faster withdrawals by ISAF members, including the United States, the loss of French troops so early in the transition process could signal serious difficulties for the coalition.

President Barack Obama already had invited Hollande to meet at the White House before the NATO summit on “a range of shared economic and security challenges.” The Telegraph claims that Obama is “likely to appeal to Mr Hollande to remain in Afghanistan” at the meeting.

New French president to formally announce Afghanistan withdrawal: here.

US Republicans wary of socialist win in France: here.

Sarkozy, bye bye!

This music video is called BYE BYE NICOLAS SARKOZY.

The polling stations in France are closed now.

According to French daily Le Monde tonight, French Rightist President Nicolas Sarkozy lost today’s presidential elections.

François Hollande, the Socialist party candidate, had 51,9% of the exit poll votes, and is the new president.

Good riddance to bad rubbish. One may hope that for once in his life, Sarkozy will keep a promise and get out of all politics.