“France is proud to online clothing welcome you, just as you were proud to carry its flag, the flag of freedom,” said President Hollande. More naturalisation ceremonies are expected to follow for other veterans in France. One of those granted citizenship on Saturday, Mohamed Toure, said the gesture will go some way towards healing old wounds. “President Hollande did what none of his predecessors ever imagined. And that repairs a lot of things,” he said. Image copyright EPA Image caption Many of the veterans fought with the French army in Algeria and Asia The granddaughter of a Senegalese soldier, Aissatou Seck, who is herself deputy mayor of a Parisian suburb, has been a lead campaigner for African veterans’ rights. Last year, she started a petition that gained tens of thousands of signatures in less than a week. The veterans have long been struggling for recognition and equality in France. Until 2010, they received lower pensions than their French counterparts. Their ambiguous status also meant they lacked access to other benefits and sometimes found it difficult to travel, said the BBC’s Africa editor, Mary Harper. Image copyright EPA Image caption Many of the veterans wore medals pinned to their suits In 1944, dozens of West Africans were shot dead clothes clothes shopping shop by French troops flights when they mutinied over unequal pay and pensions.