A resident of a Paris suburb says he was beaten with baseball bats because he asked a fellow laundromat patron to wear a face mask – a requirement in all indoor public places in France to fight resurgent coronavirus infections.
Surveillance video of the attack published Tuesday by Le Parisien newspaper shows two people with bats and two others attacking a masked man inside the laundry facility then fleeing, leaving him face down on the floor.
The victim, identified only as Augustin, told BFM television that he was beaten because he had asked one of the attackers to don a mask when he entered the laundromat in the town of Soisy-sous-Montmorency north of Paris.
“I had a mask, I asked this person to put on his mask,” Augustin said. “He acted as if he didn’t hear, I insisted. He called his brother or his cousin or someone he knew who was outside … they were threatening, insulting.”
Minutes later he saw two people enter with baseball bats. “I received blows on my back, on my temple, on my skull.”
Le Parisien reported that he filed a police complaint. The identities of the attackers are unclear.
France has seen scattered incidents involving resistance to wearing masks, which are required outdoors in several cities and towns as well.
In the most dramatic case, a French bus driver was beaten to death after he asked passengers to wear face masks aboard his vehicle. The case scandalized France and drew condemnation from the government. Four people have been charged in the death.