French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday denounced “unjustifiable crimes for the republic”, during the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the killing of Algerian demonstrators on October 17, 1961 in Paris.
A statement from the Elysee Palace said that the head of state “confessed the facts, that the crimes committed that night under the authority of Maurice Papon (the Paris police chief at that time) were unjustifiable for the republic.”
The ceremony was held on the banks of the Seine River near the Bison Bridge, which was taken sixty years ago by Algerian demonstrators who arrived from the neighboring poor Nanterre, at the invitation of the branch of the “National Liberation Front” in France.
This is the first time that a French president has visited the site of the massacre, whose number of victims is estimated by historians to be at least dozens, while the official toll only referred to three dead.
Referring to the occurrence of “crimes” and standing for a minute’s silence at the scene, Macron had taken a position that went beyond what his predecessor, François Hollande, admitted in 2012 when he spoke of a “bloody repression.”
It is known that about 25 thousand Algerians went out on October 17, 1961 in a demonstration in the French capital, Paris, at the invitation of the French Federation of the National Liberation Front, to express their rejection of the October 5 decree, which prohibits Algerians only from leaving after eight thirty at night, considering This decree is a discriminatory and rejected decision, which called for a protest against it.
As stated in the statement of the French presidency and in historical writings, “In the evening (October 17, 1961) and despite the ban, 25 thousand men, women and children left, and they headed to a group of points, where they gathered, but the repression of the French police was brutally.”
By the French presidency’s own admission, “the repression was brutal, violent and bloody.” In addition, about 12,000 demonstrators were arrested, and they were transferred to Corbitan Stadium.
During the demonstration, many Algerians were injured and dozens of them were killed, according to the statement of the French presidency, and hundreds, according to independent historians, after the French police threw them into the Seine while they were handcuffed in unparalleled brutality. To this day, the families have still not found the bodies of their relatives who disappeared that night, according to a statement by the French presidency.
French President Macron is considered the first official of his level to attend a celebration commemorating the victims of the October 17 Paris massacre, after previous participations were limited to former Paris Mayor Bertrand de Noe, in addition to some elected officials.
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