Following the bomb attack on the Algerian Consulate in Marseilles, France, on Saturday (15 December), angry demonstrators gathered outside the building on the following day (Sunday).
Following the bomb attack on the Algerian Consulate in Marseilles, France, on Saturday (15 December), angry demonstrators gathered outside the building on the following day (Sunday). Several of them called for a general strike, and many Algerian shopkeepers kept their shutters down.
The bomb had been thrown into the building by a man who escaped in a waiting car. It exploded killing four people and injuring 23 others. At the time there were dozens of Algerian workers waiting in the Consulate, and the explosion left the ground floor strewn with casualties.
The town has a large population of Arabs and former French settlers from North Africa, and there have been many clashes between the two communities in the past. During last summer, the racial situation in Marseilles gave rise to deep concern after several Algerians were killed in a wave of violent incidents following the murder of a bus driver by a deranged North African.
The French President, M. Georges Pompidou, immediately sent a message of sympathy to President Houari Boumedienne of Algeria when he heard of the bombing.
M. Mohammed Bedjaoui, the Algerian Ambassador to France, described the attack as a "serious escalation of terrorism" against his countrymen. He intended to return to Algeria on Sunday to consult his Government.
A news agency in Paris later received a message claiming that a clandestine group of former French settlers from Algeria were responsible for the outrage.