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Macron says 1961 Paris massacre of Algerians was unjustified

October 18, 2022 at 11:00 am

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a visit to Paris [GONZALO FUENTES/POOL/AFP]

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that the killing of dozens of Algerian demonstrators in Paris in 1961 was “unjustified” and that his country “will not forget the victims.” Macron made his comment on Twitter on the 61st anniversary of the massacre.

On 17 October, 1961, the French police were ordered by Commander Maurice Papon to attack a peaceful demonstration of thousands of Algerians who demanded their country’s independence. According to historians, the French police deliberately killed dozens of demonstrators in the streets and Metro stations, throwing some of the wounded into the River Seine to drown.

“In Paris, 61 years ago, the suppression of a demonstration by Algerians calling for independence left hundreds injured and dozens dead,” tweeted Macron. “They are crimes that cannot be justified for the Republic. France does not forget the victims. Truth is the only way to a common future.”

READ: Algeria party demands France should apologise for 1961 Paris massacre

Last year, the French president visited the site of the massacre on the 60th anniversary. He was the first French president to take such a step.

Earlier on Monday, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune described 17 October 1961 as a “fateful” day. “The martyrs of that heinous massacre joined the freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives to get rid of colonial injustice,” said Tebboune.

The majority party in Algeria has called on the French authorities to acknowledge the historic massacre and apologise. The National Liberation Front said that the French authorities should recognise the killings as a “state crime”.