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Algeria welcomes French vote on 1961 colonialist 'crime'

By AFP - Apr 01,2024 - Last updated at Apr 01,2024

ALGIERS — Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has praised French lawmakers for approving a resolution condemning a deadly 1961 police crackdown on peaceful Algerian protesters as a "positive gesture".

Speaking on national television Saturday night, Tebboune said "France's national assembly made a positive gesture by recognising the crime committed... in 1961."

"It is a positive move," in the often strained ties between the two countries, he said.

In recent years France has made a series of efforts to come to terms with its colonial past in Algeria, but it has refused to "apologise or repent" for the 132 years of often brutal rule that ended in 1962 after a devastating eight-year war.

On Thursday, the French parliament's lower house approved a resolution condemning as "bloody and murderous repression" the killing by police in Paris of dozens of Algerian protesters.

The peaceful demonstrators died protesting in support of Algerian independence from French rule.

The scale of the massacre was covered up for decades by French authorities before President Emmanuel Macron condemned it as “inexcusable” in 2021.

The text of the resolution, which is largely symbolic, stressed the crackdown took place “under the authority of police prefect Maurice Papon” and also called for the official commemoration of the massacre.

Papon, the Paris police chief at the time, was in the 1980s revealed to have been a collaborator with the occupying Nazis in World War II and complicit in the deportation of Jews. He was convicted of crimes against humanity but later released.

The resolution was approved by 67 lawmakers, mainly representatives of the left and Macron’s party, while 11 voted against — all members of the far-right National Rally Party.

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