Passenger kicked off train in France for refusing to wear coronavirus face mask

A passenger on a train in France was forced to get off after refusing to wear a face mask.

The unnamed man was travelling on the TGV Paris-Nice service on 16 August when he was asked to put on a face covering, which are currently mandatory on French public transport.

He repeatedly refused, until the decision was taken to make an unscheduled stop so the man could be kicked off.

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The train doesn’t normally stop before reaching Marseille, but railway security opted to eject the traveller at Creusot in the Saône-et-Loire region of eastern France – around 470km away from the next scheduled stop.

The man was also fined €135 for failing to comply with the rules.

“It’s a shame we ended up there, but the safety and security of all is our top priority,” Alain Krakovitch, general manager of SNCF Voyage, commented of the incident on Twitter.

“Our SNCF security agents are sworn in and authorised to issue a fine for not wearing a mask. They are also able to make disobedient people leave the train for ‘disturbing public order’.”

Railway security officers can take the step of turfing a passenger out “if the individual refuses to comply, which was the case with this individual,” TGV told AP, citing article L 2241-6 of the French code of transport.

One woman who claimed to have been travelling on board the service tweeted: “My TGV made an exceptional stop in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE to kick out a guy who refused to wear a mask.

“We’re not supposed to stop before Marseille, the guy finds himself in the depths of Burgundy.”

She added: “Well done sir, you have proven to two controllers and your seatmate that you are a real rebel at heart. Welcome back home, enjoy the Burgundy countryside.”

“Rebels” still appear to be in the minority. SNCF told French newspaper Le Parisien that “travellers generally respect the wearing of masks” and that “more than 95 per cent of travellers respect the instructions and most of the remaining 5 per cent agree to wear one [after being asked].”

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