October 17, 1961: the night Paris police turned mass murderers

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This Monday marks the macabre anniversary of one night of events that have largely been written out of official French history. On October 17th 1961, hundreds of Algerian pro-independence demonstrators were attacked and murdered by Paris police, most of them thrown into the river Seine. Official records report only two people died. The day will be marked by a series of demonstrations around France, calling for the formal recognition of the massacre that has remained smothered by cynicism, and latterly indifference, for half a century. Patricia Brett reports on the background and details of that sinister, cold autumn evening.

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This Monday marks the macabre anniversary of one night of events that have largely been written out of official French history. On October 17th 1961, hundreds of Algerian pro-independence demonstrators were attacked and murdered by Paris police, most of them thrown into the river Seine. Official records report only two people died. The day will be marked by a series of demonstrations around France, calling for the formal recognition of the massacre that has remained smothered by cynicism, and latterly indifference, for half a century. Patricia Brett reports on the background and details of that sinister, cold autumn evening.