A father of two feared he would be killed after being knocked unconscious by two men wielding baseball bats after asking one of them to wear a face mask at a laundry in France.
The shocking attack is the latest in a series of ‘masked rage’ assaults that have already claimed the life of a bus driver during the coronavirus pandemic.
It was in Soisy-sous-Montmorency, a suburban town north of Paris, that the 44-year-old father was attacked.
Asked to be identified only as Augustin M., he said he approached one of his attackers on Sunday afternoon because he was concerned about the spread of Covid-19.
In the photo: the attackers, carrying bats, return to the laundromat in Soisy-sous-Montmorency to savagely beat Augustin M.
The two men repeatedly hit Augustin with bats until he fell to the ground in Soisy-sous-Montmorency
Augustin falls to the ground but the men continue to beat the father of two, 44 years old
“I asked him to put on his mask, but he refused,” said Augustin, who was in a laundry room in a parking lot at the Lidl supermarket. “The situation has become tense.
A verbal argument broke out and a few minutes later one of the men involved returned with three friends, two of whom were holding baseball bats.
“I was alone in the laundry room and this time two other men joined them,” Augustin said.
“They beat me with baseball bats and I fell to the ground. They continued to hit me while I was on the ground and I passed out for a few minutes.
A surveillance video given to the newspaper Le Parisien and then posted online shows Augustin beaten several times before collapsing on the ground.
The men continue to beat Augustin even as he lies motionless on the floor of the laundromat in Soisy-sous-Montmorency, a suburban town north of Paris.
After leaving the laundromat, one of the men returns to deliver a final blow to the victim
His unidentified attackers then calmly left the laundry, while Augustin filed a complaint with the police for “aggravated violence”.
He suffered serious injuries that forced him to take six days off, telling detectives “I could have been killed!”
He was rushed to intensive care at the nearby Simone-Veil hospital and diagnosed with a head injury and severe bruising on his arms and legs.
Referring to his children, Augustine said, “They saw me bleeding on the floor. They are only five and seven years old and they are traumatized.
In July, bus driver Philippe Monguillot was beaten to death in an attack on face masks in the southwest city of Bayonne.
Mr. Monguillot, 59 years old and father of three, was repeatedly beaten by a group of men on Sunday July 5 while working on a tram bus.
Philippe Monguillot (pictured with his wife Véronique Monguillot), 59, was beaten by two passengers after trying to enforce coronavirus rules on his bus in Bayonne, France, on Sunday.
He was found unconscious by the emergency services before being declared brain dead, then died in hospital a few days later. T
Two unidentified men were charged with attempted murder, while two others were charged with failing to assist a person in danger, and a fifth charged with attempting to hide a suspect.
Face masks are currently mandatory in all public transport in France, and in all indoor public spaces.