Algerians have a history of using violence to accomplish political
gains, including during its bloody fight to gain independence
Algeria had been a "department" of France since it
conquered the country from the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1830.
But by 1954 the struggle for independence from colonial rule
began under the leadership of the guerrilla group, National Liberation
Front (FLN), who justified the use of violence to gain political
The group used tactics that included killing civilian Algerians
of European descent, colons, in Algeria as well as Arab or Berber
Algerians who opposed their nationalistic gains.
The violence spread to France in the so called "café
wars," which targeted Algerian expatriates of rival nationalist
groups as well as civilians. An estimated 5,000 were killed in
French were not free from indiscriminate violence during the Algerian
War for Independence. Random violence against Algerians was tolerated
and the Parisian police were implicated in the famous Oct. 17,
1961 massacre in which unarmed Algerian protesters were attacked
and up to 200 killed in Paris.
And colons were not immune from terrorist violence, against both
Algerians and French police and military, who they perceived as
abandoning them in their struggle to remain part of France.
It is estimated that between 700,000 and 1 million people died
in the struggle for independence, which ended with France declaring
Algeria an independent nation on July 3, 1962.
That history of violence and its ties to political developments,
according to regional experts, continues to influence groups like
the GSPC, which hopes to push the country to implement a more
by Annie Schleicher for NewsHour Extra
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