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Algeria: massacres by French troops cannot be forgotten, insists president

Members of France's Algerian community march through Paris to mark the 60th anniversary of the October 17, 1961 crackdown on Algerian protesters on October 17, 2021 in Paris, France [Sam Tarling/Getty Images]
Members of France's Algerian community march through Paris to mark the 60th anniversary of the October 17, 1961 crackdown on Algerian protesters on October 17, 2021 in Paris, France [Sam Tarling/Getty Images]

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune announced on Saturday that the "horrific massacres" committed by French colonialism in his country "cannot be forgotten." Tebboune made his comment on the 77th anniversary of the massacres that took place on 8 May 1945, Al-Watan Voice has reported.

In an open letter addressed to the Algerian people, the president said that the massacres in Setif, Guelma, and Kherrata, east of Algiers, will remain "engraved" in the national memory. At least 45,000 Algerians were killed by French colonial troops as they demonstrated for independence.

"Algeria is keen to handle the files of the colonial-era without any bargaining, to preserve our memory," said Tebboune. "It will do so with integrity and objectivity within a framework that guarantees the interests of both countries with mutual respect."

Algeria has for many years been demanding France's recognition, apology and compensation for its colonial crimes. On every occasion, though, the government in Paris demands that the page should be turned in a move towards the future.

Despite the tension between Algiers and Paris caused by French colonial history, Tebboune congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his re-election as president last month. He invited the French leader to visit Algeria "soon" to revive relations.

Tebboune's invitation followed a diplomatic crisis last October when Algeria recalled its ambassador from Paris for consultations in protest at Macron's public doubts about the existence of an Algerian nation before French colonialism.

READ: Algeria reviews agreements with Spain and rejects French visit over Western Sahara 

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