- Bernard Bejolet has become the first top French official to admit and spoke against the 1945 massacres of thousands of Algerians by French soldiers.
The actual death of the 8th May 1945 massacres was not known, but the Algerian government said at least45,000 pro-independent activists were massacred after they clashed with police in Setif, Guelma and Kherrata on 8th May 1945. However, the French government said the death toll was below 8,000.
Mr Bejolet, who is the French Ambassador to Algeria, told the Eight May 1945 Univesity in Guelma, North-East Algeria that the days of his country's continued denial of the horrific massacres were over.
He said it was an irony for the French authorities to violently suppress Algerian demonstrations when the world, including Algerians and Europeans were celebrating victory over Nazism. Algerians played an important part in the fight against Nazism, he said.
Over the years, relations between France and Algeria had been weakened by a row over the horrific massacres. But most people believed that Ambassador Bejolet's comments would help ease a climate of mistrust between the Algeria and its former colonial master.
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