This weekend's sharp increase in tensions follows a French decision to reduce the number of visas granted to people in North Africa, including Algeria. It is because these governments refuse to accept migrants who have been expelled from France.
French military spokesperson Col. Pascal Ianni stated that the request from France for two military aircraft to fly over Algerian territory on Sunday was denied. He said that one plane was to leave France and the other from Chad.
Ianni stated that it was not clear if Algeria will close its airspace to the French military completely or if Sunday's flights are the only ones affected.
He said, "We haven’t received official notification, so it will be seen." "The planners are pondering how we will adapt."
He said that Algeria had approved French flights to Algeria in the recent months.
The immediate recall of Algeria's French ambassador for "consultations" was announced by the Algerian presidency Saturday evening.
It stated that "the crimes committed by colonial France in Algeria" were innumerable.
French media reported that Macron had spoken recently about Algeria's postcolonial system and its attitude to France. Le Monde reported that Macron made these remarks Thursday at a meeting at The Presidential Palace with French and Algerian grandchildren who were ex-combatants in Algeria's 1954-1962 war of independence.
Le Monde reported that Macron had accused Algerian authorities, in a report about the meeting. According to Le Monde, Macron also discussed his government's tightening visas for North Africans. He stated that the visa reduction would be targeted at "people in governance, who have a habit of asking visas easily," according to the newspaper.
French officials announced that the number of visas granted to Algerians, Moroccans, and Tunisians would be reduced by half and 30% respectively. According to the government, this decision was made in response to refusals by Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia of providing consular documents to their citizens being deported from France for illegally arriving. These three countries were all part of France's colonial Empire and many Europe-bound migrants from North African nations had family or other ties to France.
In a statement, the Algerian presidency stated that Macron's comments were an "intolerable affront [to the memory] of the 5,630,000 valiant Martyrs who gave their lives resisting the French colonial invasion". There was no explanation for how the Algerian authorities could have come up with such large numbers.
It also stated that "nothing or nobody can absolve colonial powers from their crimes."