Increase in violence linked to masks in France as imposed rules

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A police source in Brest (Finistère) reported that this weekend, a man stabbed a bouncer in front of a bar, after the bouncer refused him entry because he was not wearing a mask. Likewise, drivers of public transport networks reported that the majority of violent incidents were mask-related.Wearing a mask has been compulsory in public transport since the start of deconfinement in May.

Most of the victims appear to be either the driver – especially on buses – or passengers trying to get others to adhere to the rules. In one case in Neuilly-sur-Marne (Seine-Saint-Denis), a nurse was assaulted on a bus for trying to make another passenger wear a mask.

And in early July, in a case that shocked France, Bayonne bus driver Philippe Monguillot was beaten up and left brain dead – leading to his eventual death – after trying to deny entry to a group of people who did not wear masks.

Read more: Wife of a brain dead bus driver in Bayonne: “I’m going to fight”

At the end of July, a drunk passenger on a bus was sentenced to four months in prison after refusing to wear a mask and threatening the driver, in a bus in the Tarn in the south of France.

In Lille (Hauts-de-France), the police noticed that some people became angry when asked to wear a mask in the street.

A police source Told Sunday Newspaper: “In some neighborhoods, checking masks can be strained. The officer added that he fined 15 people for not wearing masks in the city center on Friday afternoon (August 14).

In some areas, additional staff are employed – in support of and sometimes in place of the police – to try to calm the situation.

In Noirmoutier (Vendée, Pays de la Loire), the municipal staff is in charge of asking people to wear a mask, while in Hendaye (Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Nouvelle-Aquitaine), specially trained meditators are on the ground, rather than the police.

Compulsory spreads with mask

The reports come as mandatory mask wear becomes more common in public places across France – even in outdoor spaces, such as outdoor markets – and the number of Covid-19 cases increases .

Read more: Why coronavirus cases in France are increasing

The town of Creil (Oise, Hauts-de-France) has now made it compulsory to wear masks everywhere, all the time – a first for the country.

Since Monday, August 10, many public and outdoor spaces in Paris have made the practice compulsory, while in the southern city of Marseille, measures are also being deployed, especially in the busiest shopping streets and tourist areas.

In many areas, masks are now mandatory in spaces where physical distancing is considered impossible.

Read more: 1,400 French municipalities require masks to be worn in the street

Read more: Joggers and cyclists in Paris should use a mask in crowded areas

Failure to wear a mask may be penalized with a fine of € 135.

The rules come after Prime Minister Jean Castex called for “vigilance, discipline” and more mask wearing as cases of Covid-19 continue to rise across the country.

He called on the public to standardize the wearing of masks everywhere, even outdoors, and added: “We must go further… to avoid taking a step back towards a significant reconfiguration.

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