Memorial to executed French terrorists banned

6th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

MARIGNANE, France, July 6 (AFP) - Police in southern France on Wednesday prevented some 600 people from inaugurating a memorial honoring the Secret Armed Organization (OAS), which resorted to terrorism to stop Algerian independence.

MARIGNANE, France, July 6 (AFP) - Police in southern France on Wednesday prevented some 600 people from inaugurating a memorial honoring the Secret Armed Organization (OAS), which resorted to terrorism to stop Algerian independence.

Local authorities on Tuesday banned the inauguration ceremony, saying the event could disturb the peace. That decision overruled an authorization granted by the right-wing mayor of Marignane, near the port city of Marseille.

The Association for the Defence of Former Prisoners and Exiles of French Algeria (ADIMAD) on Tuesday secretly erected the monument in Marignane's cemetery, honoring four executed OAS members.

The memorial, dedicated to "Fighters who fell so that French Algeria could live", remained covered by a sheet on Wednesday.

Demonstrators laid flowers at the cemetery's gate before dispersing peacefully.

The news of the planned memorial set off a torrent of criticism from left-wingers, Gaullists and Algerian immigrants -- all of whom see in the event the creeping rehabilitation of an inglorious episode in French history.

The paramilitary OAS was formed in 1961 after it became clear that France was moving towards a settlement to end the bitter war with the Algerian insurgency.

Responsible for scores of mainly Algerian deaths in the run-up to independence in 1962, the OAS went on to seek vengeance against its hate-figure, president Charles de Gaulle, after he granted the former North African colony self-rule.

The four OAS members were executed for murdering six social workers in Algiers, knifing to death a police chief and, in one case, for a failed assassination bid on de Gaulle in August 1962.

The names of 101 other OAS members that ADIMAD says were "killed in action" against French or Algerian forces were also to be inscribed on a plaque on the monument.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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