French President Emmanuel Macron has asked forgiveness from the Algerians who fought alongside France during the war to liberate Algeria from French colonialism in 1962 and are known as the Harki.
And invited to the French presidential palace – the Elysee – Monday, about 300 movement and their grandchildren, in light of calls from the organizations that represent them to raise the value of the compensation allocated to them, which amounts to 40 million euros.
Nearly 200,000 Harkis fought alongside France’s colonial army in the bloody 1954-1962 war against Algeria’s National Liberation Front.
France was accused of abandoning the Harki, which led to the killing of tens of thousands of them at the hands of the National Liberation Front, which describes the Harki as traitorous agents.
Macron said that France had failed to fulfill its duties towards the movement, and promised to erect a monument to them and enact legislation for them by the end of this year.
Some of those present at the reception interrupted Macron more than once, including a woman who accused him of making “empty promises”, according to the France 24 website.
Others, however, welcomed the French president’s request for forgiveness.
A commission will hear the claims of surviving fighters and their children who grew up in camps in France.
The Harki description comes from the mobile military units in which these Algerians worked.
The war between the Algerian National Liberation Front and France was ended through a peace agreement signed in March 1962, according to which Algeria was granted independence, and the French authorities allowed the entry of about 42,000 activists, including those who took his wife and children to France.
At first, the French government refused to recognize the Harki’s right to remain in French territory, and for years many of them lived in squalid concentration camps, and those who remained were killed in Algeria and could not escape.
Harki activists in France, who tried to sue Algeria in 2001 for allegedly committing “crimes against humanity” against them, claim that 150,000 of them were killed.
In 2000, during a visit to the capital, Paris, the late Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika described Harki as collaborators with the Nazis. Although he criticized their living conditions, he ruled out their return to Algeria.
In September 2001, France held its first national day to honor Harki. Right-wing politicians often highlight the Harki issue during the election season, but without tangible results on the ground.
In September 2016, former French President Francois Hollande officially acknowledged that his country had abandoned the Harki. in an inhumane situation.
Franco-Algerian relations are a sensitive topic in France, and Macron’s previous condemnation of France’s colonial role has angered many in the country.