“What happened happened,” French president François Hollande said yesterday when he rejected demands from a black group that the French state pay reparations for almost 200 years of slavery, during which French traders deported some two million Africans. “History does not erase itself,” Mr Hollande continued. “You cannot rub it out. It cannot be the object of transactions deriving from accounting that would in any case be impossible to establish.” Mr Hollande spoke at the seventh annual commemoration of the slave trade, slavery and abolition. The Representative Council of Black Associations (Cran) had announced it would file a lawsuit yesterday against French state-owned bank Caisse des dépôts et de consignations (CDC).