7. Paris Massacre
Fifty years before ISIS chose Paris as its target, the city was the scene of another, even more horrific atrocity. This time, it was the Paris police who were responsible. For years, the French public was kept in the dark about the specifics. Even now, the actual number of people that died remains unknown.
France was struggling for the sovereignty of its Algerian colony in 1961. In France, there was a tremendous anti-war sentiment, and on October 17, 1961, a huge peaceful demonstration erupted in the heart of Paris.
Maurice Papon was the head of the Paris police force at the time. Years later, he would stand trial and be found guilty of crimes against humanity performed during WWII.
The police, led by Papon, encircled and assaulted the demonstrators. The demonstrators were beaten to death with clubs and shot before their remains were dumped over bridges into the Seine. In the center of Paris, 200 people were killed by the end of the day. The police told the media the next day that just three individuals had passed away, trying to cover up the massacre.
For years, the police’s version of events dominated the news. It took until the 1990s for the truth to be exposed. Until 2012, the French government did not apologize or acknowledge the tragedy.