Oct 17, 2021 18:25 UTC
  • France massacre: Paris protesters mark 1961 bloody police crackdown anniv.

Protesters have taken to the streets in the French capital Paris to mark the 60th anniversary of a bloody crackdown on Algerian protesters.

According to reports, the demonstrators carried Algerian flags and banners as they marched towards Pont Saint-Michel, one of the oldest stone bridges in the center of the capital on Sunday, a day after French President Emmanuel Macron only acknowledged that a massacre of Algerians by his country’s police 60 years ago was "inexcusable,” during in a memorial ceremony.

Activists had hoped for an even stronger recognition of responsibility, with Gilles Manceron, a French historian and member of the League for Human Rights (LDH), which called the rally, saying Macron's comments represented "a small step" but not satisfactory.

He also said they want recognition that the repression constituted a state crime as well as access to the archives.

On the night of October 17, 1961, some 30,000 Algerians living in Paris demonstrated peacefully in the center of the capital to support Algerian independence and voice their opposition against a strict curfew imposed on them. The protests were called by the National Liberation Front (FLN). 

But as night fell, witnesses recall seeing people shot with live ammunition and killed when police charged into the crowd.

The precise number of victims has never been made clear and some activists fear several hundred could have been killed.

The massacre occurred during a rally that was called in the final year of France's increasingly violent attempt to retain Algeria as a North African colony.

France has so far refused to officially apologize to Algeria as a state for its colonial crimes.

Activists hoped Macron, the first president born in the post-colonial era, would go further than his predecessor François Hollande, who acknowledged in 2012 that protesting Algerians had been "killed during a bloody repression".