French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron on Saturday sought to end the controversy over comments he made about France colonialization while on a visit to Algeria.
Macron, a pro-European independent centrist who several recent polls have shown to be a frontrunner, was hit by a wave of criticism this week from his right-wing opponents after he said France’s history in Algeria was a “crime against humanity.”
“I spoke about our colonial past. But in Algeria, I especially spoke about the future, about what I wanted us to build together with this country with which we share a history,” he said.
I spoke about our colonial past. But in Algeria, I especially spoke about the future, about what I wanted us to build together with this country.
“It all about the French Algerians, according to him, he has committed a crime. Crime of having made a country that did not even exist, to have done what it is,” Robert Perez, President of the returnees in the country added.
Algerians lived under French rule for 132 years until it won a bloody war of independence in 1962. The conflict killed 1.5 million Algerians, the Algerian government said.
Macron accused the far-right National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, of preventing hundreds of people from attending the speech, calling her supporters “merchants of hate.”
“Why do you think that Mr. Macron goes to Algeria to explain that colonization is a crime against humanity? Why? He went to promise visas, even more visas. That’s what he went to do. A few days earlier, he told us there was no French culture,” said far-right National Front leader, Marine Le Pen.
About 100 demonstrators shouted “Macron, treason” outside the building where he made the speech and attempted to block the only entrance to the room.
Le Pen, who Macron looks likely to face in a second-round run-off, condemned his comments on Algeria earlier this week and at a rally on Friday in eastern France