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French presidential candidate Macron slams critics of Algeria remarks

media Emmanuel Macron in Algiers on 13 February Reuters/Ramzi Boudina

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron on Friday slammed opponents for "exploiting" his declaration that French colonialism was a "crime against humanity" for electoral ends. He also claimed that Ukraine-based hackers were repeatedly attacking the website of his election campaign.

Macron, a centrist former economy minister, said he would not "give in to all the politicians who today are trying to exploit out history, to exploit my statement for clientelist or electoral ends" in an interview with France's Radio Classique on Friday.

Representatives of the far-right National Front and the mainstream right Republicans on Thursday slammed his declaration to an Algerian TV that France had committed "barbaric" acts during its colonisation of Algeria and that colonialism was a "crime against humanity".

And the candidate was met by a group of about 30 pieds noirs, who left Algeria after it won independence, when he visited the southern French town of Carpentras on Friday.

They accused him of "killing us all over again" but Macron assured them he was not accusing them of crimes against humanity and that he "enormously respected what you have been through".

Cyberattacks on website

Macron also told Radio Classique that his campaign website has been subject to "repeated attacks" and that many came from Ukraine.

He laid much on the blame on French journalists at Russian media Sputnik and Russia Today for "propagating rumours" and "pretty injurious statements".

On Tuesday Benjamin Griveaux, the spokesperson for Macron's party, En Marche!, accused the Russian government of being behind the attacks, saying that the Kremlin was backing mainstream right candidate François Fillon and the National Front's Marine Le Pen.

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