News Agencies – November 8, 2012
France has set March 19 as the annual date of remembrance for victims of the 1954-62 Algerian war, in a diplomatic gesture to Algeria before a visit by President Francois Hollande next month. The Senate upper house of parliament approved the date in a vote that ended years of disagreement over when to mark the conflict that ended more than a century of French colonial rule in Algeria and left deep scars on both sides.
The Senate, controlled by the ruling Socialist Party, voted by 181 votes to 155 in favor of a bill to use the date of the March 19, 1962 ceasefire to remember hundreds of thousands of dead on both sides in Algeria, and also in parallel Moroccan and Tunisian independence struggles.
The fixing of a remembrance day, exactly 50 years after the war ended, is symbolic, but groups representing relatives of victims of the war have said it will not fulfill their desire for a full apology for France’s colonial past.