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French lawmakers vote to condemn 1961 massacre of Algerian protesters

French lawmakers vote to condemn 1961 massacre of Algerian protesters

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French lawmakers on Thursday condemned an infamous 1961 police crackdown on Algerian protesters in Paris as a “bloody and murderous repression,” marking another step in the country’s recognition of the massacre that authorities sought to cover up for decades.

The National Assembly, parliament’s lower house, voted 67-11 in favor of a nonbinding resolution that condemned the police brutality that occurred on Oct. 17, 1961. The resolution also asked that France establish a national day of remembrance.

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About 12,000 Algerians were arrested in the crackdown and dozens were killed, “their bodies thrown into the Seine River,” President Emmanuel Macron acknowledged in 2021 on the 60th anniversary of the massacre.

Protesters arrested in Paris, 1961

FILE – Men come out of Paris subway station with their hands on their heads after being arrested in Paris, Oct. 17, 1961, for failure to obey curfew imposed on Algerians. Algerians and wounding at least four. French lawmakers on Thursday, March 28, 2024, condemned an infamous 1961 police crackdown on Algerian protesters in Paris as a “bloody and murderous repression,” marking another step in the country’s recognition of the massacre that authorities sought to cover up for decades. (AP Photo, File)

Historians say at least 120 protesters died, some shot and some drowned, Macron’s office said then.

The protesters in 1961 had answered a call for a peaceful demonstration by the French branch of the National Liberation Front, or FLN, which was fighting for Algerian independence, against a discriminatory nighttime curfew targeting Algerians in the Paris region.

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Algeria was under French rule for 132 years until its independence in 1962.

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