Algeria hails French recognition
PARISAlgeria has welcomed French President Hollande’s acknowledgement that Algerians were massacred during an independence rally in Paris in 1961.
“On Oct. 17, 1961, Algerians who were protesting for independence were killed in a bloody repression. The Republic recognizes these facts with lucidity,” Hollande said. “I pay homage to the victims 51 years later.”
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal welcomed the statement, adding that Hollande’s visit would be a test of his preparedness to turn the page of history “without forgetting,” Radio France International reported on its website. Hollande is the first French president to recognize the state’s responsibility for the deaths.
Right-wing politicians accused Hollande of “politicizing” history. The head of the conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party in the French parliament, Christian Jacob, accused the Socialist leader of stirring up divisions by appearing to implicate the state in the massacre. The far right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen declared that the presidents “do not have the authority to recognize the guilt or innocence of France.”