French President Emmanuel Macron condemned a deadly crackdown by police against an Algerian protest in Paris in 1961 as an “inexcusable” crime, but, as expected, withheld a formal apology.
On Sunday, it will be 60 years since the Paris police killed dozens and injured dozens more in a tragedy that was covered up by authorities.
The exact number of victims is unknown, although some fear the number could be hundreds.
“The repression was brutal, violent and bloody. Almost 12,000 Algerians were arrested … In addition to many wounded, several dozen were killed and their bodies thrown into the Seine,” said a statement by the Elysée.
Macron is only the second French president to acknowledge the event, but his remarks were made public in a statement rather than in public. Nor did he formally apologize.
More than 25,000 people took part in the protest against a curfew for Algerians in 1961, organized by the French wing of the Algerian National Liberation Front.
As a first for a French president, Macron recalled the tragedy on the banks of the Seine, where bodies had been found.
He said the “crimes committed that night” under Paris Police Chief Maurice Papon were “inexcusable,” the Elysee statement said.
The French president observed a minute’s silence with families affected by the tragedy and those who worked to get the truth recognized, the government added.