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Algerian Prime Minister’s speech in Paris sparks controversy

Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia in Paris, France, on 10 November 2018 [Ian Langsdon/AFP/Getty Images]
Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia in Paris, France, on 10 November 2018 [Ian Langsdon/AFP/Getty Images]

Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said on Monday that the controversy the country has been witnessing since Sunday over the circulation of statements he delivered in Paris, describing the martyrs of the liberation war as “dead people” falls within the context of “attempts to manipulate his speech.”

This came in an explanatory statement to the Prime Ministry on the “wave of condemnation” in the social media website since Sunday in protest against statements attributed to him regarding the revolution.

The statement said that this clarification is “response to the attempts to manipulate what Ouyahia said in Paris about our martyrs in the National Liberation War.”

The statement continued: “A private TV channel has manipulated the Prime Minister’s words about the martyrs of the National Liberation War, in a way that made him refer to them using the word dead people, instead of the word martyrs.”

Ouyahia participated on Sunday in the Paris Peace Forum that was held in the framework of the centenary of the end of the First World War (1914-1918), as a representative of the Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Read: After six decades of independence Algeria is desperate for change

Since yesterday, activists and pages have been circulating on social media websites statements attributed to Ouyahia before the summit, in which he was speaking of the period of French colonisation of Algeria (1830-1962), as he replaced the word “martyrs of the war of liberation” by “dead people,” in a way that has sparked a local wave of anger.

The Prime Minister’s statement on this issue has been issued to make it clear that it is aimed at “precisely revealing the truth. It is worth mentioning the news item of the APS, published on 11 November, from Paris.”

He explained that the report of the Agency, which stated that he talked about the “triumphant revolution of the Algerian people (1954-1962), which was subjected to the atrocities of war to restore its independence that cost one and a half million martyrs, millions of victims, and deportees and great destruction.

The file of the Algerian liberation revolution is one of the most sensitive issues in the country, as it is still revered by the people who reject any prejudice against it or against the leaders of the armed struggle against French colonization.

Read: 2m dual nationality Algerians are well integrated in France

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