Some descendants say apologies, promised payments not enough to compensate for abandonment, massacres and decades of discrimination
French President Emmanuel Macron apologized Monday to Algerians who fought alongside French colonial forces in Algeria’s war for independence, and were then massacred and ostracized as traitors, the Associated Press reports.
In a solemn ceremony interrupted by the cries of one fighter’s daughter, Macron also promised a law guaranteeing reparations for the contingent known as the harkis. The distraught woman, who said she grew up in a camp where France sequestered harkis after the war, argued that the law wouldn’t go far enough to fix the damage.
Harkis and their descendants feel France abandoned and mistreated them after the war, one of the darkest chapters in France’s modern history. Around 200,000 fought against fellow Algerians in the 1954-1962 war, and tens of thousands of harkis were killed after the French withdrawal.
Those who made it to France were placed in camps, and many were denied access to school and other rights. A few thousand harkis are believed to still be alive today.
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