FRENCH bus driver Philippe Monguillot who was badly beaten by passengers after asking them to wear face masks in line with coronavirus rules has died after his family decided to switch off his life support machine.
Mr Monguillot, 59, was left brain dead by the attack in the southwestern town of Bayonne last weekend when several passengers attacked him after he told them to comply with Covid-19 protocols before boarding his bus. He has attracted tributes from political leaders who condemned his cowardly attackers.
Marie, Mr Monguillot’s daughter, said: “We decided to let him go. The doctors were in favour and we were as well.”
Two men have been charged with attempted murder over the attack and prosecutor Jerome Bourrier said that he would ask for the charges to be upgraded following Mr Monguillot’s death. Already, France’s prime minister Jean Castex has led tributes to Mr Monguillot.
Mr Castex said: “The Republic recognises him as an exemplary citizen and will not forget him. The law will punish the perpetrators of this despicable crime.”
Interior minister Gerald Darmanin, who was due to meet some of Bayonne’s bus discuss the security situation, labelled the attack an abhorrent act. “The cowards responsible must not go unpunished,” he added.
Mr Monguillot’s family had organised a silent march in his honour on Wednesday, departing from the bus stop where the assault took place. His colleagues refused to work after the attack but will resume work on Monday under stepped-up security arrangements.
This will include security agents being deployed on the long buses that operate in Bayonne and its surrounding area. Three other people have been charged in connection with the attack, two for failing to assist a person in danger and another for attempting to hide a suspect.
Two of the men charged with attempted murder are aged 22 and 23 and were previously known to police. France has had 170,752 cases of coronavirus, of which there have been a total of 30,004 deaths.