Remembering May 8, 1945, massacre in Algeria

One of the rare photos of the demonstration of May 8, 1945, in Setif.

On May 8, 1945, people around the world took to the streets to celebrate the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of World War II in Europe. In the town of Setif in French-ruled Algeria, 5,000 people marched to mark the occasion and to demand equality. When an Algerian flag was raised, French troops and armed settlers opened fire. In the following week, 45,000 Algerians were massacred by the French colonial regime. For most of the world’s people, World War II had been a fight against fascism and for liberation. But in the oppressed countries of the world, the “democratic” capitalist powers could be as brutal as the Nazis. Nine years later, the Algerian people launched a war of liberation against French colonial rule. Algeria gained its independence in 1961.

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