Paris, April 24: The first day of the state of alert ordered by President de Gaulle in his dramatic T.
Paris, April 24: The first day of the state of alert ordered by President de Gaulle in his dramatic T.V. appeal (2855/61) to France turned this capital of Old Europe into another Havana under threat of invasion in the New World.
Tanks encircled the Paris National Assembly building and covered Key points in and around the capital in the mobilisation to thwart air invasion by the rebel french generals in seized Algiers.
With most of the French Army in Algeria, mobile gendarmerie units manned the tanks in Paris and patrolled the city in armoured cars.
Ready to block main streets, hundreds of Paris buses became mobile barricades, as President de Gaulle with dictatorial powers ordered other "barricade" measures - to block all links with the rebel generals force in Algeria.
Units of the French Fleet, in particular the main force at Toulon was in readiness to blockade Algiers. While emergency rule put the nation on a war footing some 10 million workers in France answered the call of their leaders to rally behind the President.
Their hour's token stoppage shut factories, civic and public services. Thousands of Grench citizens volunteered to serve as militiamen - many of them former servicemen under de Gaulle in the Second World War.
To keep the nation in a continuous state of alert during the emergency French state radio and television stations were remaining open at night with calls to the population to remain vigilant as hourly bulletins flashed out news and instructions.
Air Force fighters received repeat orders to shoot down any suspect planes in the night sky over France. Barriers went up again on all airfields to prevent rebel lendings. Airports closed between midnight and dawn, all civilian night flights were banned for the duration of the emergency.
From Algeria itself ... nine aircraft escaped and landed in France during daylight. Fragmentary reports indicated servicemen loyal to the Government were defying the rebel generals who face the death penalty.
General Maurice Challe, stripped of rank and the command he held as C-in-C French Forces in Algeria, told a mass rally in Algiers: "We shall remain resolute until victory".
As a broadcast over the revel-held Algiers radio, he said the coup was aimed at saving Algeria from the claws of (the Algerian FLN) rebellion and to give back to France a pacified Algeria.
The alert in France to thwart a rebel invasion - the rebels say they have no intention of carrying one out - set off alarm too in Algeria's neighbours. Tunisia and Morocco, both sheltering FLN units behind their frontiers. In Tunisia, in particular, as General Challe announced new action against the FLN, Tunisian troops moved to the border with orders to halt any lightning attack by the rebel French general's troops attempting to wipe out an estimated 10.000 FLN troops encamped on the Tunisian side. For while the FLN's main force remains there, the rebel generals' pledge of keeping Algeria French is one without hope.