French president Emmanuel Macron has condemned as ‘inexcusable’ the brutal repression of Algerian protesters by Paris police 60 years ago. On October 17, 1961, officers carried out a deadly crackdown on a demonstration by tens of thousands of Algerians, in one of the darkest episodes in post war France. Some historians say more than 200 people were killed in the violence.
It’s the first time a French president has attended a memorial ceremony for the Algerians killed on that night. Emmanuel Macron joined relatives of the victims in paying tribute. 60 years ago at this spot, bodies were fished out from the Seine river.
An estimated 25 thousand Algerians rallied peacefully in protest against a curfew imposed on them alone. Police responded without mercy, arresting nearly 12,000 and killing dozens, throwing their bodies into the river. Many others were taken away to sorting centers and then deported.
The violence occurred in the final year of France’s violent attempt to keep Algeria as one of its colonies. For decades, successive administrations ignored the massacre. President Macron’s condemnation of the killings was only issued in a written statement and did not include an apology. This year’s commemoration took place amid diplomatic tensions between both countries over their history.
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