World – Victim of racist attack calls for punishment
PARIS –– The man prevented from boarding a Paris Metro train by Chelsea football fans chanting racist slogans has called for them to be punished.
The 33-year-old, named as Souleymane S, told France’s Le Parisien: “These people, these English fans . . . should be locked up.”
A video shows him trying to get on a Metro carriage but being pushed off.
A group of people can be heard singing: “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it.”
The footage was obtained by the Guardian, which reported that the incident happened at Richelieu-Drouot station in the centre of the French capital on Tuesday ahead of a Champions League match.
In the interview with Le Parisien, Souleymane S said he had not been particularly surprised by the abuse because he “lives with racism”.
The father of three, a French-Mauritanian born in Paris, said he had not understood what the fans were saying but that he knew he was being targeted because of the colour of his skin.
Transport officers arrived but only wanted to make sure there was not a fight taking place.
He said he had no idea he was being filmed, and had not told anyone about the incident.
“What could I tell my children? That daddy was shoved around on the Metro because he is black?
“That would be pointless.”
But he said that now the incident had emerged publicly he had the confidence to file a police complaint.
“These people, these English fans, need to be found and punished, and should be locked up,” he added.
“What happened should not go unpunished.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron said the incident appeared to be “extremely disturbing and very worrying”.
It follows long-standing controversy over racism in football generally.
Although the episode is believed to have involved British fans, the comments made by Souleymane S also come amid disquiet over increasing intolerance in France.
Publishing a report on Tuesday, Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, said France needed to take “urgent” action to combat abuse.
“Despite advances in legislation and measures to combat intolerance and racism, discrimination and hate speech not only persist in France but are on the rise,” he said.
London’s Metropolitan Police has said it is taking the Paris Metro incident “very seriously”.
In a statement it said it would assist the French authorities to identify the people involved and support them in any action they chose to take.
Chelsea FC said it would help police, and any fans involved faced a ban.
A spokesman for the club said the fans’ actions had “no place in football or society”
British expatriate Paul Nolan, who filmed the incident on his phone, told the BBC it was an “ugly scene” and “very aggressive”.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme he said he could hear mentions of World War Two as well as the racist chanting.
One voice is heard on the video singing: “Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea.”