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The last public appearance for President François Hollande before he hands over the baton to Emmanuel Macron on Sunday. And the challenge of protecting his citizens and dealing with immigration. Gathering to commemorate the abolition of slavery in France in 1848. And paying tribute to the victims of the slave trade.
A significant move for the President elect.>> Here in the Champ de Tir Luxembourg in Central Paris, I'm Reuters reporter Mia Womersley, where the ceremony is taking place. It was brought about in 2006, by former President Jacques Chirac on the 5th anniversary of a French law recognizing slavery as a crime against humanity.
This day seen as a breakthrough in France's efforts to come to terms with its colonial past.>>
> In February, Marcon attracted waves of criticism when he stepped up his condemnation of his country's historic presence in Algeria. Calling it an act of barbarism that amounted to a crime against humanity.
Algerians lived under French rule for 132 years until they won a bloody war of independence in 1962. The Algerian government says 1.5 million Algerians were killed. But Macron's right wing rivals were furious with his call for an apology. Francois Fillon said that this continual repentance and dislike of French history were qualities unworthy of a presidential candidate.
During his campaign, Macron said that nationalism is war. He defends cultural diversity and is a passionate defender of an open immigration system. As the independent centrist prepares to lead a country with 6 million unemployed, 9 million in poverty, and 5 million Muslims, Algeria might finally get the act of atonement it's been waiting for.