ALGIERS- France, during the occupation of Algeria (1830-1962), waged an “all-out war,” marked by massacres and crimes against humanity, which decimated the indigenous population, French political scientist and academic Olivier Le Cour Grandmaison told APS in an interview.
This “all-out war”, which began as early as colonization when the French armies landed at Sidi Fredj in 1830, was made up of “raids, destruction of towns and villages, deportation of civilians, mass killings and smokes”, indicated Mr. Le Cour Grandmaison, one of the recognized specialists in issues related to French colonial history in Algeria.
He noted that “in February 1841, General Bugeaud was appointed Governor General of Algeria and was going to wage an all-out war there, ignoring the provisions of conventional conflicts tending to the protection of civilians and based on the distinction between battlefield and sanctuary “.
“The resulting pacification has always remained fragile and the authorities such as the French armies have often remained with their arms open to put down in blood demonstrations and uprisings”, he noted, citing as proof the “crushing “of the insurrection led by El Mokrani in 1871.
“Between 1830 and 1872, the indigenous population thus lost approximately 875,000 people due to the cumulative effects of these almost uninterrupted wars, the misery and famines which they encouraged and worsened”, he lamented, recalling ” the terrible massacres of Sétif, Guelma and Kherrata, which began on May 8, 1945 and lasted several weeks “, killing more than 45,000.
Added to this is “the Algerian war (1954-1962), a conflict marked by numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the French armies and the Harkis auxiliaries”.
Massacres of October 17, 1961: a crime that France persists in acknowledging
The exactions and the massacres of France knew no respite. Evidenced by the crimes committed on October 17, 1961 against the Algerians in France. These massacres were carried out, he said, “in a context where it is common knowledge that torture, summary executions and enforced disappearances are also part of the practices of the French police, which are directed in the Paris region. , the prefect Maurice Papon “.
These massacres were committed during peaceful rallies during which the National Liberation Front (FLN) called “to protest against the racist curfew which was then imposed only on French Muslims in Algeria since October 5 of the same year”.
Access to archives: France stands out with “unacceptable” restrictive provisions
Regarding the issue of access to archives, Mr. Le Cour Grandmaison recalled that “in 2011, a ministerial decree by Prime Minister François Fillon prohibited the communication of documents classified as defense secret even though the deadline of 50 years set by the law of July 15, 2008 has passed “.
“In these matters too, France stands out with particularly restrictive provisions compared to other democratic countries,” he said indignantly.