The wife of a French bus driver who was left brain dead after a gang of passengers beat him up for insisting on wearing face masks said she would ‘avenge my husband’ when she joined 6,000 protesters demanding justice.
Philippe Monguillot’s wife, Veronique and the couple’s three daughters joined thousands of people in Bayonne in the south of France on Wednesday evening, wearing white and marching through the streets.
Monguillot, 58, was brutally beaten after trying to enforce the coronavirus rules on the bus in Bayonne on Sunday, in an attack that sparked outrage in France.
On Wednesday March, Ms. Monguillot held a photo of herself with the affected driver overhead, while her daughters held huge bouquets of white flowers.
They led a group of thousands of supportive Bayonne residents who filled the streets of the city.
Veronique Monguillot, wife of French bus driver Philippe Monguillot, 58, who was left brain dead after a gang of passengers beat him up for insisting they wear face masks, saying she would ‘avenge my husband’ when she joined 6000 protesters added on the streets of Bayonne, in the south of France, are demanding justice on Wednesday
Mrs. Monguillot and she and Mr. Monguillot’s three daughters joined thousands of people as they wore white and marched through the streets. Mrs. Monguillot kept a photo of herself with the affected driver
Ms. Monguillot said, “I will fight to the end, I have strength in me, I am running out of tears. I am angry and I am going. I am not afraid, justice is with me. Justice will help me avenge my husband. ‘
In other French cities, including Paris, Strasbourg and Bordeaux, bus drivers stopped for a minute at 7:30 PM. Some of his colleagues refuse to return to work until after Mr. Monguillot’s funeral.
The march came a day after two men aged 22 and 23 had been charged with attempted murder in the attack on Mr. Monguillot.
Prosecutors, who also arrested two others on minor charges, said the men “violently kicked and beat the upper body of his body, including his head.”
Mr. Monguillot’s 18-year-old daughter told Marie Sud Ouest that “it’s not breathing my dad, it’s the fan … we know it’s over.”
Prosecutor Marc Mariee described the events of Sunday evening at a news conference that three men had initially boarded the bus at Bayonne train station, one of them with a dog.
Monguillot, 58, was brutally beaten after trying to enforce the coronavirus rules on the bus in Bayonne on Sunday, in an attack that sparked outrage in France. Pictured: Mrs. Monguillot is comforted by a woman on the march
Ms. Monguillot said, “I will fight to the end, I have strength in me, I am running out of tears. I am angry and I am going. I am not afraid, justice is with me. Justice will help me avenge my husband ‘
The family stood with a photo of Mr. Monguillot facing media members and supportive residents
At a next stop, they were joined by a fourth person, after which the driver went to inspect his ticket – and instructed the four men to put on their masks.
“There were insults and then there was pushing. The bus driver was pushed off the bus, “said the prosecutor.
Two of the men are said to have subsequently beaten and kicked the driver in what the prosecutor called an ‘extremely violent’ attack.
Some of the men fled after leaving the victim seriously injured on the sidewalk, the public prosecutor said.
One person was arrested on the spot while four others were held in an apartment in Bayonne, although one of them, a minor, was later released.
In addition to the two charges of attempted murder, two others have been charged with not providing assistance to a person in danger, while one of them has also been charged with attempting to hide a suspect.
The mother and her daughters were desperate as they mingled among the thousands of people
Some held pieces of paper with the letter P above their heads as a sign of support to the driver
The streets were full of people wearing white as a tribute to the affected bus driver
The two suspects of attempted murder have the police to their credit. All four people are in custody.
Mr. Monguillot was unconscious when the emergency services arrived and his wife said the attack “destroyed their lives within seconds.”
Ms. Monguillot said, “He can’t leave us like this, he would be 59 soon. No, you do not do this with a bus ticket. You don’t kill for free! ‘
To talk with Le Parisien, she added, “I don’t want to face the facts … I feel like I’m living a nightmare.”
The Monguillots are the parents of three daughters aged 18, 21 and 24 and are supported by friends and colleagues who have set up a support group.
“Philippe would retire in a year and we thought we would buy a motor home in September,” said Ms. Monguillot.
His daughter Marie, 18, added: “We are empty … we have no more tears.”
Ms. Monguillot said on Wednesday: “He can’t leave us like this, he would be 59 soon. No, you do not do this with a bus ticket. You don’t kill for free! ‘
The Monguillots are the parents of three daughters aged 18, 21 and 24 and are supported by friends and colleagues who have set up a support group
The two men accused of the attempted murder were “ kicked and violently punched the upper body of his body, including his head, ” prosecutors say after attacking Bayonne (shown on a map)
Masks are currently mandatory on all public transportation in France, but members of the group refused to put them on when they got on the vehicle – a cross between a bus and a tram from the Chronoplus company – at around 7pm on Sunday.
The attack on the father of three sparked outrage from his colleagues in Bayonne.
A colleague of Mr. Monguillot described him as a “neat and hardworking man who always looked after passengers.”
He added, “There is a lot of tension about masks because they are the law, but the bus crew is not a police force and we don’t have to enforce the law.”
The Chronoplus colleague said there had been three other attacks involving masks in recent days, but none were as serious as those involving Mr Monguillot.
Bayonne Mayor Claude Olive said meetings are underway to improve the safety of buses.
“This was a barbaric attack,” said Mr. Olive. “Philippe was a great person who should have been protected.”
The march came a day after two men aged 22 and 23 were charged with attempted murder in the attack on Mr Monguillot