19th February, 2015
A black French man pushed off a Paris metro train and racially abused by Chelsea supporters said in an interview published Thursday that the fans must be punished.
“These people, these English supporters, must be found, punished and locked up,” the victim of the widely condemned assault told Le Parisien newspaper.
The man, named as 33-year-old Souleymane S born in Paris but with Mauritanian parents, said he would make a complaint to police about the incident.
French and British police have launched a hunt for the self-proclaimed racist fans and French politicians have demanded “sanctions” over the incident in central Paris before Chelsea’s 1-1 Champions League draw against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night.
Amateur video footage showed Chelsea fans repeatedly pushing Souleymane S. back off the train as he tried to board and then chanting: “We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it!”
Video shows Chelsea football fans preventing Souleymane S from boarding a Paris Métro train. Video: Paul Nolan
“I didn’t know I was being filmed. The fact that it’s being talked about has given me the courage to go and file a complaint with the police,” Souleymane S, said.
The man recounted: “I wanted to get into the carriage but a group of English fans were blocking me and pushing me off.
“They were saying to me things in English but I didn’t really understand the meaning of their words.
“I realised they were targeting me because of the colour of my skin. You know I live with racism, I wasn’t totally surprised at what happened even if this was the first time it’d happened in the metro.
“I returned home without saying anything about it to anyone, not my wife, nor my children. What can I tell my kids? That papa was shoved in the metro because he’s black? That wouldn’t help things at all.”
The newspaper reported that Souleymane S. lives in north of Paris and works near the Richelieu-Drouot metro station where Tuesday’s incident took place.
It was at the station that Le Parisien say they came across him on Wednesday.
According to the paper, he wasn’t aware of the furore the story had stirred up.
French prosecutors have opened an investigation into “deliberate racial violence on public transport”. London police said they would assist the French investigation.
In a statement, Chelsea called the incident “abhorrent”. The club has called on its fans to help identify the supporters involved in the abuse.