On this day October 17, 1961

In Paris, the French police under the Prefect of Police Maurice Papon attacked a peaceful but illegal demonstration of some 30,000 who were protesting the Algerian War, killing anywhere between 40 and 200 people.

After 37 years of denial, the French government acknowledged 40 deaths in 1998, although there are estimates of up to 200.

The same year  Maurice Papon was personally awarded by French President Charles de Gaulle of the Legion of Honour.

Papon was also in charge during another demonstration against the OAS, which had been prohibited by the state, was repressed at Charonne metro station. Nine members of the CGT trade union, most of them communists, were killed by the police forces, directed by the same Maurice Papon under the same government, with Roger Frey as Minister of Interior, Michel Debré as Prime minister and Charles de Gaulle as president.

Papon also participated in the repression in Algeria during the Algerian War (1954-62) as prefect of the Constantinois department. He was named chief of the Paris police in 1958.

Forced to quit his functions after the “disappearance” of Moroccan dissident Mehdi Ben Barka, leader of the Tricontinental Conference, in 1965, he became, supported by de Gaulle, director of Sud Aviation company, which created the first Concorde plane.

After May 1968, he became Minister of the Budget under prime minister Raymond Barre and president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. In 1981, emergence of details about his past under Vichy led to his trial and, after a very long investigation, conviction for crimes against humanity in 1995 to 1998.

Le Canard enchaîné newspaper published on May 6, 1981 documents signed by Papon which show his responsibility in the deportation of 1,690 Jews of Bordeaux to Drancy internment camp from 1942 to 1944.

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