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This month in history – 10, 50 and 100 years ago in France

We look back at important events that happened in October 2012, 1972 and 1922

Jean-Marie Le Pen founder of the far-right Front National; record breaking French pilot Lucien Bossoutrot Pic: Netfalls Remy Musser/Shutterstock; The History Collection/Alamy

October, 2012 - Paris massacre remembered 

François Hollande became the first president to acknowledge a 1960s massacre of Algerian protestors in Paris, admitting on October 17 that it had been a “bloody suppression”.

The horror unfolded on that same day in 1961 during an anti-war demonstration by 30,000 Algerians against a curfew targeting their community, organised by the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN).

Read more: Four questions to understand the 1961 killing of Algerians in Paris

Under orders from Maurice Papon, head of the Paris police, protestors were detained, beaten and held for days without food. 

Bodies were also found in the Seine.

In 1998, the government admitted 40 deaths, but some historians put the figure at 200-300. 

Papon was later convicted of crimes against humanity for the deportation of Jews during World War Two.

October, 1972 - Front National founded 

Jean-Marie Le Pen’s far-right Front National party was formed during a meeting in Paris on October 5. 

Its ideology was linked to the neo-fascist Ordre nouveau movement, advocating “the renaissance of patriotism, the promotion of a hierarchy of values and the restoration of family [life]”.

FN remained a marginal movement for a decade but grew to be a major political force. 

Mr Le Pen’s stance on issues such as Holocaust denial and Islamophobia earned him the nickname ‘Devil of the Republic’ but his daughter Marine, who took over as party leader in 2011, led a campaign of dédiabolisation (de-demonisation), rebranding the party Rassemblement National and coming second in this year’s presidential election.

Read more: ‘Le Pen’s programme remains far-right despite efforts to soften image’

October, 1922 - Record-breaking flight 

On October 14, a French crew made up of Lucien Bossoutrot and Robert Drouhin broke the world record for the longest flight. 

They were in the air for 34 hours and 19 minutes in a Farman-Goliath that took off from Le Bourget, Paris.

Bossoutrot, who served as a pilot during World War One and later became an MP, broke several other records, including the first international commercial flight in history when he took 12 passengers from Paris to London in 1919. 

That same year he negotiated his own release (and his crew’s) after an emergency landing saw him taken prisoner in Mauritania.

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