The Paris Massacre of 40 Algerians on October 17th 1961 – Some were herded into the Seine River, others thrown from bridges
Some 30 000 pro FLN (National Liberation Front) Algerians gathered for a peaceful demonstration in the Streets of Paris. Under orders from the head of the Parisian police, Maurice Papon, the French police attacked the demonstration. The Paris Massacre of 17 October 1961 appears to be intentional. After 37 years of denial the French government admitted the acts, and acknowledged 40 deaths in 1998. Estimates of deaths exceed 200.
Historian Jean-Luc Einaudi won a trial against Maurice Papon in 1999. The latter, according to official documents, seems to have directed the massacre. He assured officers in one station that they would be protected in prosecution if they participated in quelling the demonstration.
The protestors were killed in many different methods. Some were herded into the Seine River, others thrown from bridges after being beaten unconscious. Other still were delivered to the Paris police headquarters after being arrested and killed there.
The estimates of the deaths range between 70 and 200.
A few days after the massacre on 31 October, some anonymous policemen published a text stating:
What happened on 17 October 1961 and in the following days against the peaceful demonstrators, on which no weapons were found, morally forces us to bring our testimony and to alert public opinion… All guilty people must be punished. The punishment must be extended to all of the responsible people, those who give orders, those who feign of letting it happen, whatever their high office may be… Among the thousands of Algerians brought to the Parc des Expositions of the Porte de Versailles, tens were killed by blows from rifle butts and pickaxe handles… In one of the extremity of the Neuilly bridge, groups of policemen on one side, CRS on the other, moved slowly towards each other. All the Algerians captured in this huge trap were knocked out and systematically thrown in the Seine. A good hundred people were subjected to this treatment… [In the Parisian police headquarters], torturers threw their victims by tens in the Seine which flows only a few meters from the courtyard, to keep them from being examined by the forensic scientists. Not before having taken their watches and money. Mr. Papon, prefect of the police, and Mr. Legay, general director of the municipal police, assisted to these horrible scenes… These indisputable facts are only a small part of what has happened in these last days and what continues to happen. They are known by the municipal police. The extortions committed by the harkis, the district special brigades, the brigades des aggressions et violences are not secret any more. The little information given by the newspapers is nothing compared to the truth… We do not sign this text and sincerely regret it. We observe, not without sadness, that the current circumstances do not allow us to do so…”