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The President of the Republic planned, Saturday, to take a step further than his predecessor, François Hollande, in the recognition of the massacre of Algerian demonstrators that occurred on October 17, 1961 in Paris, during a ceremony organized at the Pont de Bezons, in the suburbs of Paris.
Emmanuel Macron is preparing to recognize, Saturday October 16, “an indisputable truth” during the official ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the massacre of Algerians of October 17, 1961 in Paris, going further than the “bloody repression” admitted by François Hollande in 2012, said the Élysée.
The Head of State will lay a wreath in the middle of the afternoon on the banks of the Seine, near the Pont de Bezons, in the Paris suburbs, borrowed 60 years ago by Algerian demonstrators who arrived from the neighboring slum de Nanterre at the call of the FLN branch based in France.
“Live ammunition was fired at this location and bodies were recovered from the Seine,” recalls the Elysee to explain the choice of this place to commemorate the repression, the number of deaths of which is estimated by historians at at least several dozen, the official balance sheet counting only three.
>> Webdoc: October 17, 1961: a massacre of Algerians in the heart of Paris
Emmanuel Macron, the first French president born after the Algerian War ended in 1962, will also be “the first of the Fifth Republic to go to a place of memory where this commemoration will be held”, explains the same source.
After the submission in January of the report by historian Benjamin Stora on colonization and the Algerian war (1954-62), the Head of State pledged to participate “in three commemorative and emblematic days”: the the first took place around September 25, national day of homage to the Harkis, the second this Saturday and the third on March 19 for the 60th anniversary of the Evian Accords which ended the Algerian War.
Tense context between Paris and Algiers
During the ceremony, in which Benjamin Stora should participate, Emmanuel Macron will respect a minute of silence, will meet with the relatives of the victims, but he should not make a speech.
At the end of the ceremony, on the other hand, a text will be broadcast “in the form of a press release which will indicate precisely what will be the meaning and scope of this recognition”, assures the same source.
In this statement, the head of state should take “one more step compared to what François Hollande said in 2012”, regretting a “bloody repression”. “He will take a step forward in recognizing what happened and will act on the truth of the facts,” said the Elysee.
>> To see: October 17, 1961: 60 years ago, a massacre in the heart of Paris
This ceremony takes place in a tense context between Paris and Algiers, after the words of Emmanuel Macron reported by Le Monde who accused the Algerian “politico-military” system of maintaining a “memorial rent” by serving its people a “history official “which” is not based on truths “.
At the Élysée, we are assured that “whatever the state of our relations with Algeria and whatever the positions of the Algerian authorities on the issue, we do it for ourselves, not for Franco-Algerian reasons. “.
“It is time for the State to assume its responsibilities”
The Head of State, who has undertaken an unprecedented work of memory on the Algerian War, wishes above all to “look history in the face”, as he did in Rwanda by recognizing the “responsibilities” of the France in the genocide of the Tutsi of 1994. “But that does not mean rewriting history or reinventing it”, warns the Élysée.
This ceremony is awaited by various organizations such as SOS Racisme: “It is time for the State to assume its responsibilities and stop using cryptic formulas,” said its president Dominique Sopo to AFP.
Sixty years later, “there is still no official record of the number of victims, deportees, it is not even possible to identify the victims”, he laments.
>> To see: Fabrice Riceputi, historian: the massacre of Algerians of October 17, 1961 “is a colonial massacre”
A number of commemorative events are planned for Sunday in Seine-Saint-Denis, including Bagnolet, Montreuil, Noisy-le-Sec where a poster by the artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest, representing the hands of a drowned man and bearing the words “a state crime, Paris on October 17, 1961”, must be installed on Sunday on the facade of a building.
Nanterre will join the towns of Colombes, Gennevilliers, Bagneux, Malakoff and Châtillon for a souvenir walk that will start from the Esplanade de La Défense and join the Pont de Neuilly.