French President on Saturday became the first French head of state to take part in commemorations of the massacre by Paris police of protesters at a rally 60 years ago against France's rule in its then-colony Algeria.

Iran PressEurope: Emmanuel Macron, however, stopped short of issuing a formal apology but said that the deadly crackdown on that day was "inexcusable".

On Saturday, one day ahead of the formal anniversary, Macron took part in a memorial ceremony for the victims at a park on the Paris outskirts. He acknowledged that several dozen protesters had been killed, their bodies were thrown into the River Seine, and paid tribute to the memory of the victims.

The precise number of victims has never been made clear and some activists fear several hundred could have been killed.

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"Macron recognized the facts that the crimes committed that night under Maurice Papon are inexcusable for the Republic," the Elysée said in a statement.

 "This tragedy was long hushed-up, denied or concealed," it added.

The Paris police chief at the time, Maurice Papon, was in the 1980s revealed to have been a collaborator with the occupying Nazis in World War II and complicit in the deportation of Jews. He was convicted of crimes against humanity but later released.

For decades, French authorities have been hiding the inhumane dimensions of the 1961 Paris protests.


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