Police escorted a British National off a Eurostar train after the train manager reported that the passenger was wearing the wrong type of mask. The female manager believed the man’s face mask could not stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and accused him of being aggressive and removing the covering.
The unnamed British passenger, who is reportedly in his forties, had boarded the train bound for London from Gare du Nord, Paris on the afternoon of Oct. 7. At Lillie, the train made an unscheduled stop. Eight officers entered and escorted the man out. One of the police officers from Lille confirmed the arrest. But when asked why the man was arrested, the officer stated, “We don’t know why, we’ll have to find out.”
“I’ve done nothing wrong and respect all coronavirus rules – this is absolutely outrageous,” the British national said while being escorted out. He later added, “I have absolutely no idea what this is all about, except that a Eurostar staff member has taken a very strong dislike to me, and accused me of not wearing the right type of mask.” The man from Liverpool was left stranded at Lille.
Other passengers aboard the London-bound train expressed their irritation over the delay of around 15 minutes just because someone was not wearing the right kind of face mask.
“During the journey, the passenger became aggressive and intimidating towards the on-board team when they politely reminded him to wear a mask as is required under our conditions of carriage. As a result, the passenger was asked to leave the train at Lille station and in this situation, it is normal procedure for the police to attend and assist,” Eurostar said in a statement.
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One of the passengers, a 32-year-old woman from London who was a witness to the events said that the passenger who was removed from the train was “actually being very reasonable.” The woman further detailed that he was not swearing or acting in a way that was aggressive. “The Eurostar woman was telling the police what to do and insisting that the poor guy should be removed like he was some kind of criminal,” the woman told the Mirror.
The media outlet further reported that the man was in a coach where many passengers had removed their face masks to eat and drink. Yet, the manager only found an issue with the British national who was sitting alone by a window. The man even apologized and replaced the black mask he was wearing with a blue one provided by a passenger. Despite this, he was removed.
Though Eurostar stipulates all passengers to wear a mask while aboard the train, a spokesperson admitted that there are no specific rules about what type of mask needs to be worn.
France has some of the most stringent coronavirus restrictions in Europe. This includes requiring a Health Pass for individuals who wish to enter malls, restaurants, bars, or even hospitals in case of non-urgent care. The Health Pass validates that the individual is vaccinated, has a negative test result, or is recovering from COVID-19.
The French government plans to extend the Health Pass rule until July 31, 2022. People have been protesting against the pass and other coronavirus rules for several months.