Police officers were the face of the colonial state in much of the Maghreb. They were vulnerable to their domestic opponents, who singled them out during workers protests and outbreaks of political violence. In Algeria, this culminated in the Sétif uprising. On 8 May 1945, 4.000 protesters marched the streets in the provincial town of Sétif, carrying banners that attacked colonial rule. There was a violent clash with the gendarmerie and a death toll of 103 Europeans. Out of revenge, the French army executed thousands of Algerians in Muslim villages. France apologized for this crime sixty years later.
Martin Thomas, Violence and Colonial Order. Police, workers and protest in the European Colonial Empires 1918-1940 (Cambridge 2012) IISH Call no 2012/1580