ALGERIA – april 8, 1945
8 May 1945, the very day on which news of Nazi Germany’s capitulation reached the West, a spontaneous uprising broke out in the Algerian town of Sétif and some surrounding villages. Several dozen French colonists were killed by a frenzied mob demanding Algerian independence. The incident provoked a violent reaction from the French authorities that went down in the history books as the “Sétif Massacre” and would eventually fuel the later Algerian War of Independence. As in Europe, the end of the Second World War was also celebrated in French Algeria. In Sétif, a parade was planned that day in which the flags of the allied countries would be given a place of honour. For the supporters of the PPA, the nationalist Parti du Peuple Algérien which had been founded a few years earlier by Messali Hadj (1898–1974), this was the ideal opportunity to also carry the Algerian flag in the parade and thus to lend strength to their demands for independence. However, any nationalist display was strictly forbidden by the French authorities, and when during the parade, 26-year-old Bouzid Saâl refused to put up the Algerian flag, he was brutally shot by a policeman. The incident provoked fierce indignation and degenerated into a full-blown popular uprising. An agitated crowd turned against the French present, who had to pay the price and were mercilessly killed. When the news of the massacre reached Algiers and later Paris, it was hard not to react. The French general Raymond Duval (1894–1955) was sent with a considerable force to quell the revolt, which had meanwhile spread to several surrounding villages. In the days that followed, many innocent Algerian citizens were arbitrarily arrested, mistreated and often cold-bloodedly executed without any form of trial. How many victims the repression of the uprising ultimately claimed is difficult to ascertain to this day. Depending on the sources, the Algerian side claims 25,000 to 35,000 dead, while some, such as the PPA, even claim 40,000 or more…(read more from source below).