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Bus driver beaten to death after asking passengers to wear face masks: “It’s barbaric”

The wife of a French bus driver who was beaten to death after he asked four passengers to wear face masks aboard his vehicle, which was called Saturday for “exemplary punishment” for his murderers.

The assault against Philippe Monguillot has scandalized France. President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday sent the Interior Minister to meet the driver’s widow after his death was announced Friday. He had been hospitalized in critical condition following the July 5 attack.

France Drives Killed
This July 8, 2020 file photo shows Veronique Monguillot, wife of Philippe Monguillot, a bus driver who was attacked in Bayonne, holding a photo of her with her husband, during a protest march in Bayonne, southwestern France.

Bob Edme / AP

Veronique Monguillot said she told the minister, Gerald Darmanin, that she and their three daughters were “destroyed” by the attack on her husband at a bus stop in Bayonne, southwest France.

“We have to hit a fist on the table, so this never happens again,” she said. “It’s barbaric, not normal. We have to stop this massacre.”

Bayonne prosecutors said Monguillot was attacked after he asked four passengers on his bus 810 to wear face masks, which are required on board French public transport because of the coronavirus pandemic. The driver was insulted, driven from the bus and hit violently and kicked in the head, the prosecutor says.

Four people are in custody.

“This bus driver just did his job,” Darmanin said. “He left his home in the morning and didn’t come back, left a widow and three orphan girls. It’s an absolutely awesome act.”

France has struggled hard to tame its coronavirus outbreak, which saw over 208,000 confirmed infections and over 30,000 virus-related deaths, according to a summary by Johns Hopkins University. Experts say the true toll is higher because of test limitations and missed mild cases.

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