August 05, 2020

Coronavirus: French bus driver dies after attack by passengers who refused to wear face masks

July 11, 2020

A bus driver has died in France five days after he was attacked by passengers who refused to wear face masks, his family have said.

Philippe Monguillot, 59, was left brain dead after he was dragged off his bus and assaulted in Bayonne, southwest France, on 5 July.

He died on Friday after doctors agreed it was time to "let him go", his 18-year-old daughter Marie said.

Two men in their 20s have been charged with attempted murder, while another two have been charged with failing to help a person in danger in connection with his death. A fifth man faces a charge of hiding a suspect.

Mr Monguillot was pushed off the bus, violently beaten and kicked in the head after he asked three men to wear masks and tried to check another man's ticket late last Sunday, Bayonne's prosecutor said.

It is illegal to board public transport without a face mask in France as part of coronavirus restrictions.

On Wednesday, hundreds of people - led by his wife Veronique - marched through Bayonne demanding justice.

Traffic was brought to a standstill as Mrs Monguillot clutched a picture of them together.

French President Emmanuel Macron sent interior minister Gerald Darmanin to meet the widow, who told him she and her three daughters have been "destroyed" by their father's death.

She called for "exemplary punishment" for his killers and said: "We must bang a fist on the table, so this never happens again. It's barbaric, not normal. We must stop this massacre."

Mr Darmanin said after the meeting: "The bus driver was only doing his job.

"He left his home in the morning and did not come back, leaving a widow and three orphan girls. It is an absolutely odious act."

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