Date of Award
Croft Institute for International Studies
On the 17th of October 1961, 30,000 Muslims gathered throughout the streets of Paris in the peaceful protest of a curfew, which had been imposed in 1961 on all French Muslims from Algeria as an attempt to prevent any further FLN movement. Orders were given to arrest and suppress the protesters by any means. At the end of the night, bodies were found in the Seine. The victims were Algerian. The police announced that 14,000 men had been arrested, 200 men injured, and only 2 killed. Around 200 Algerian men were never heard from and corpses began appearing in the Seine. Yet the police never addressed the bodies. The truth was hidden. The police covered up the extent of the violence, and the French public overlooked the state discrimination that passed through their streets. In the past 60 years, information and documents have slowly resurfaced concerning the forgotten event. Why did members of the French state and the French police react callously to a call for peace? What led France to repress such injustices? How did information from the event resurface? I will investigate the methods of how France's state repressed a moment in history that affected thousands of lives. This thesis will pursue the issue of how a nation could ignore the injustices inflicted upon their people by their leaders. The research will be based on qualitative primary and secondary sources that present accurate information on the events and range from days after the event to 50 years after. The events will be examined to understand why they were a taboo and why they were given such an extent of power as to be hidden from the nation and the world. The issue of state violence shows up in different points throughout French history and the Algerian massacre is not a stand-alone event of repression. While moments of October 17th, 1961 will forever remain lost due to repressive acts by the French state, a collective narrative has developed from the anarchives (unofficial archives) and official archives built by a process of recovery.
Starnes, Brianna, "Ici on noie les algériens: France's Repression of the 1961 Algerian Massacre" (2018). Honors Theses. 143.