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Accounts of sexual assaults flood social media after France’s WC win

During the celebrations of France’s World Cup win, accounts by victims of sexual assault flooded social media.

Published: July 20, 2018, 8:38 am

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    News of several assaults appeared on Twitter immediately after France had won the final against Croatia on Sunday night, with hundreds of thousands of fans flooding into the streets of Paris and other cities.

    Sexual assaults were also reported during other World Cup matches or at the team’s victory parade in the Champs Elysees avenue on Monday, according to AFP.

    One victim decribed how a man unzipped his pants and began masturbating against her leg at a fanzone in Nantes, western France. “I told the police but they said they were there in case of terror attacks,” she tweeted. She said she had not filed charges. “There’s no point, because they’ll never be able to find them.”

    In yet another disturbing incident, a woman and her partner were assaulted in Paris by a group of Algerian men because she had shouted “Vive la France!” during the football victory celebrations.

    French conservative magazine Valeurs, reported that the incident occurred just after midnight on Sunday night in the Saint-Eloi district of the capital.

    A young couple had responded to occupants of a passing vehicle shouting, “vive l’Algérie!” [long live Algeria], by cheering the French team with “Vive la France!”.

    The occupants of the vehicle stopped, got out and punched the woman in the face. They then assaulted her male friend. Police are still searching for the attackers, according to France Bleu Poitou. The male victim has almost missed two weeks of work because of the attack.

    Despite France’s World Cup winning team being composed of mostly African players, French cities were besieged by migrants youths, with shops being looted, vehicles set alight and buildings torched.

    A video showing migrant youths robbing suitcases from a moving tourist bus has gone viral. Young men can be seen rushing to a FlixBus as it rolls down a city block, forcing open the luggage doors while pulling out suitcases and bags. The robbery took place in Paris after France won the World Cup.

    FlixBus will no longer stop in a migrant-heavy area of Brussels where a series of armed robberies and luggage thefts have also hit the company, Belgian news outlet HLN reported. FlixBus is a German company offering transport between many European cities.

    Drivers of the European bus company FlixBus are fed up with the unsafe situation at Brussels North. The company has had to make arrangements for extra security and is already looking for another stop in the capital. “I face threatening situations at least several times a week,” a bus driver told Het Nieuwsblad. Belgian Minister of the Interior Jan Jambon says he is prepared to have the federal police engage to help ensure safety at the Brussels North Station.

    According to Flemish broadcaster VRT, gangs around the station wait for the Flix buses to rob travelers and steal their luggage. The drivers are also threatened if they want to intervene, a driver explained to Het Nieuwsblad. “The emergency number on the bus is often not answered,” the driver says. “We are fed up and demand security.” According to the driver, there is often intimidation and violence at the station, knives are being pulled and thefts and quarrels happen.

    “The safety of our employees and passengers is our top priority,” FlixBus said in a response to a VRT question. “We are working on a solution to improve the situation. This is done in close cooperation with the local authorities. “Several measures have already been taken in recent months to improve safety. “More check-in staff are hired, the baggage compartments are equipped with cameras and there is an implemented compulsory identification of all passengers when boarding the bus,” FlixBus said.

    Yet more and more drivers park their busses in a different location than Brussels North, when they have Brussels as their final stop, because they feel safer elsewhere. The international bus company is already looking for another stop in the capital. “It just has to be safe,” it said.

    Audrey Dereymaeker from the Brussels North police zone acknowledged the problem. “Brussels-North is not the most safe neighborhood; the Maximilian Park, where many migrants come together, is close by. In the evenings they often hang around near the station.”

    According to Dereymaeker, there are now regular reports of theft. “We also advise bus companies to use security agents themselves”, concluded Dereymaeker.

    Jambon has reached out to the mayor of Schaarbeek, Bernard Clerfayt, to see if and how the federal police can help to stop the attacks on the busses.

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