17 October 1961: Massacre in Paris
In 1961 police in Paris killed over 200 Algerian protesters and threw their bodies into the River Seine. Historian Jean-Luc Einaudi exposed the murders in his book The Battle of Paris. He spoke to Sellouma from France’s New Anticapitalist Party
The protesters killed on 17 October 1961 were calling for Algerian independence. Could you describe the political situation in France leading up to the massacre?
The Algerians were fighting for independence, led by the National Liberation Front (FLN). The war in Algeria had lasted seven years and had serious repercussions within France itself.
France was then home to around 350,000 Algerians—130,000 of whom lived in or near Paris. The FLN had a large French section.
Talks between France and the provisional FLN government were suspended in July 1961. Both sides expected that these talks would eventually resume, and sought to consolidate their positions.
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