French military operations in Algeria came to an end on March 19, 1962.
GV War veterans carrying wreath and flags in procession along the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
SV Wreath laid on Tomb of the Unknown Warrior
CU Veteran and crowd as the salute to the Dead in sounded
SV PAN ALONG Veterans during the sounding of the La Marseillaise
GV People standing to attention around wreath
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: French military operations in Algeria came to an end on March 19, 1962. The ceasefire ended ten years of bitter conflict between the French sovereign government and Algerian liberation armies. Last Wednesday (March 19) the National Federation of Ex-Servicemen in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia held a remembrance ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe to commemorate the finish of the war, and expressed their regret at the government decision not to give the date official recognition. On Saturday (March 22) an action committee seeking respect for the memory of civilians and military who died for French Algeria held a counter-demonstration at the same spot.
SYNOPSIS: Before the ceremony the Action Committee issued a statement saying it was dishonourable to commemorate a political defeat. They claimed it was shameful to glorify the loss of fifteen French departments, the mass-acre of thousands of Moslems loyal to France and the start of an exodus of a million Frenchmen from Algeria. The Committee denounced the March 19 anniversary saying it was a celebration of the victory of the Algerian National Liberation Front and therefore of the defeat of France.
Several Action Committee spokesmen have claimed that the National Federation of Ex-Servicemen has been infiltrated by Communists. They have also threatened to oppose the re-election of municipal councils who have recognised 19 March as a day of remembrance.