Petition for the offical recognition of the tragic events in Paris of October 17th 1961

 The massacre by Paris police of almost 300 Algerian demonstrators on October 17th 1961, is part of French history. In partnership with the association Au nom de la mémoire (In the Name of Memory), Mediapart has launched this petition for the atrocity to be officially recognised and, through such an act, the opening of a new chapter of fraternity between France and Algeria.

 

The massacre by Paris police of almost 300 Algerian demonstrators on October 17th 1961, is part of French history. In partnership with the association Au nom de la mémoire (In the Name of Memory), Mediapart has launched this petition for the atrocity to be officially recognised and, through such an act, the opening of a new chapter of fraternity between France and Algeria.

Since the petition was originally launched by Mediapart on October 12th, it has received the signed support of more than 4,000 people, many of them leading political figures. These include newly-elected Socialist Party presidential candidate François Hollande, the party's First Secretary Martine Aubry and her deputy Harlem Désir, along with Cécile Duflot, the national secretary of the Green party allianceEurope Ecologie-Les Verts and many of the alliance's national and European MPs, including Daniel Cohn Bendit; other signatures include Parti de Gauche co-presidents Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Martine Billard, the French Communist Party national secretary Pierre Laurent and the NPA party spokesmen Philippe Poutou and Olivier Besancenot. Their signatures are a binding political engagement with regard to the 2012 presidential and legislative elections.

 

You can join your name to the petition below (box at bottom of page):

 

"Fifty years ago, the head of the Paris police, prefect Maurice Papon, with the agreement of the French government, imposed a curfew aimed exclusively at the French Muslim community from Algeria.

This racist curfew prompted a pacific reaction by the Algerians, in the form of a demonstration through the streets of Paris. On the evening of October 17th 1961, about 30,000 men, women and children joined in the peaceful march through the main boulevards of the capital, calling for their right to equal treatment and for the independence of Algeria.

The police repression of this non-violent protest is one of the darkest pages of French history. For a long period hidden from public opinion, and now established by historians, it was ferocious: 11,000 arrests, dozens of assassinations, including many demonstrators drowned in the river Seine, others shot or beaten to death.

The time has come for an official recognition of this tragedy, which is as much a part of French memory as it is Algerian. The forgotten victims of October 17th 1961 worked and lived in France. We owe them this elementary justice, one of remembrance.

To recognise the crimes of October 17th 1961 is also to open the pages of a calmer history between these two sides of the Mediterranean. In 2012, Algeria will celebrate its 50 years of independence, which was also a trauma for France. On the eve of this commemoration, only recognition of the truth can serve as the pledge for reconciliation.

Neither vengeance nor repentance, but the justice of truth and a reconciliation between peoples; that is how we will build a new fraternity between France and Algeria."

 

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