Video footage shows bus passengers racially abusing and
threatening French women for singing in their native
language. Photo / Supplied
Police are investigating the violent abuse of a group of
French women on a Melbourne bus, captured on video and posted on YouTube (warning: explicit language)
The ugly attack terrified the women, who were singing in
French after returning from a Remembrance Day barbecue at the
beach before catching the Frankston bus late on November 11.
They were threatened with filleting by fishing knife, one was
called a c*** and a dog, and an Australian woman passenger
told her to "speak English or die".
"I thought [the man who began the abuse] was kind of joking
at first and then I realised he wasn't kidding at all, so my
friends and I stopped laughing" one of the group, Fanny
Desaintjores, told the Age.
"We were quite afraid that he would come and hit us."
The YouTube video, posted by fellow passenger Mike Nayna, has
gone viral and has been picked up by the international media,
including reports of Australian "xenophobia" in France.
The incident began as an apparently drunk passenger objected
to about nine women singing in French.
"One girl started singing in French and a girl up the front
started telling her to shut up and chanted 'Aussie, Aussie,
Aussie'," Nayna told the Herald Sun.
"Most at the front of the bus joined in, and that's when the
passenger in the video on his phone joined in the abuse."
Nayna said young men in the front of the bus egged him on.
"They gave him a beer and a smoke and even offered him a
fishing knife, and then he went off saying 'I'll fillet these
c***s'," he said.
"The French girl started to sing louder and they didn't like
that so the started the 'f*** off to your own country' type
A couple with a baby in a pram joined in, with the man
shouting: "I'll f***ing boxcutter you right now dog."
Desaintjores told the Age that as the couple left the bus the
man smashed a window near them, knocking glass fragments on
to her and a friend.
"At this point I was really scared," she said.
"I realise that maybe we shouldn't sing in a public transport
but I think that's insane that they reacted like that.
"We're all adults. We could have a conversation and talk
gently, instead of all these insults and threats."
Police said the incident was being investigated by transit
and public safety command detectives.