World Bulletin / News Desk
French President Francois Hollande acknowledged on Wednesday Algerians were massacred during an independence rally in Paris in 1961, ending decades of official silence over one of the darkest chapters of post-war French history.
The statement, which came as Hollande tries to improve relations with Algiers ahead of a visit there in December, was the first time a French president had publicly accepted the killings took place.
As Algeria's battle for independence spilled into France, Paris police chief Maurice Papon ordered police to crack down on thousands of Algerian protesters who had defied a curfew.
"On October 17, 1961, Algerians who were protesting for independence were killed in a bloody repression. The Republic recognises these facts with lucidity," Hollande said in a statement. "I pay homage to victims fifty-one years later."
The massacre has been widely recorded by historians, who say more than 200 people may have been killed.
But any suggestion that the French authorities were to blame remains a highly sensitive issue, particularly among Hollande's right-wing opponents.
The head of the conservative UMP party in parliament, Christian Jacob, accused the Socialist leader of stirring up divisions by appearing to implicate the state in the massacre.
"While denying the events of October 17, 1961 and forgetting the victims is out of the question, it is unacceptable to blame the state police and with them the whole Republic," Jacob said in a statement.
Many historians say the massacre was the deadliest use of force by French authorities on home soil since police helped to round up thousands of Jews and other minorities during the 1940-45 Nazi occupation.
In the months and years following the massacre, the government banned publication of a book about the killings and suppressed the few photographs taken by journalists that night.
Historians have compiled witness reports of protesters being chased through the streets of Paris and bludgeoned to death in the courtyards of police stations. Bodies were thrown into the Seine river, witnesses said.
Research was hampered by the fact that police documents from the time were never opened to the public. As a result, there is still no consensus on the number of deaths.
Algeria celebrated 50 years of independence from France in July.
Trump's special representative has blamed Hamas for causing "misery" in Gaza
It is still a wide-open race to succeed President Enrique Pena Nieto, who is deeply unpopular heading into the final stretch of his six-year term in a Mexico beset by endless corruption scandals and record levels of violent crime.
His comments came as he faces criticism from survivors of the attack over his ties to the powerful National Rifle Association, and after several thousand rallied in Florida to demand urgent action on gun control.
Temer came to the city to meet Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao, several ministers and General Walter Souza Braga Netto, who will lead the operation and who was in charge of coordinating security when the city hosted the 2016 Olympic Games.
Muslims have suffered the most by far from ISIL’s terrorist attacks, Iraqi premier tells Munich Security Conference
Israel struck six targets affiliated with Hamas's armed wing in Gaza Strip, Palestinian security source says
Washington concurs with Ankara on need for locals taking control of liberated areas, says US defense secretary
Army uses live ammunition, rubber bullets to disperse stone-throwing Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza
"Deal of the Century" refers to a back-channel U.S. plan to settle the Palestine-Israel dispute
Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete and Alejandro Murat, governor of the state of Oaxaca, were on their way to survey the scene of the destruction left by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake when the accident occurred, the interior ministry tweeted.
The arrival of Trump and his wife Melania came at the end of a difficult day for the families of those killed in Wednesday's rampage at a high school in Parkland, Florida, who learned that the carnage could perhaps have been averted.
Trump to consider report suggesting high tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminum imports
Tanks to be integrated into Iraqi armed forces 'within days', Defense Ministry source says.
Army uses teargas and live ammunition to disperse stone-throwing Palestinians in West Bank city of Nablus