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Do you know the man on the train?

Email lauren.lewis@mailonline.co.uk

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A British passenger has claimed he was thrown off the Eurostar by French police ‘for wearing the wrong type of mask’.

The unnamed man – who is in his 40s and believed to be from Liverpool – said he was removed from the Eurostar after a row with the train manager who accused him of being ‘aggressive’ and removing face covering.

Armed French police were seen boarding the London-bound Eurostar in Lille, northern France, yesterday and removing the man.

Eurostar requires all passengers to wear a mask onboard but a spokesman today said that there were no rules specifying what type of masks must be worn.  

A statement from Eurostar said the man ‘repeatedly removed his mask both in the station and on board, despite gentle reminders from staff.’

‘During the journey, the passenger became aggressive and intimidating towards the on-board team when they politely reminded him to wear a mask as is required under our conditions of carriage. 

‘As a result, the passenger was asked to leave the train at Lille station and in this situation it is normal procedure for the police to attend and assist.’    

Other passengers on the service said that the female manager of the train took a dislike to the man after an exchange of words, and ordered the service to stop so he could be removed. 

He was then surrounded by at least eight uniformed officers, and then left stranded in Lille when the train resumed its journey to England. 

‘I’ve done nothing wrong and respect all Coronavirus rules – this is absolutely outrageous,’ he said, as he was led away in front of other stunned passengers on Thursday afternoon.

He added: ‘I have absolutely no idea what this is all about, except that a Eurostar staff member has taken a very strong dislike to me, and accused me of not wearing the right type of mask.

‘Now I’m going to be left alone in France, when all I wanted to do is get home from a work trip. This is very cruel treatment. We should all be getting on, not treating each other like this.’

Armed French police have boarded a London-bound Eurostar and arrested a British passenger after a train manager accused him of wearing 'the wrong type of mask'

Armed French police have boarded a London-bound Eurostar and arrested a British passenger after a train manager accused him of wearing 'the wrong type of mask'

Armed French police have boarded a London-bound Eurostar and arrested a British passenger after a train manager accused him of wearing ‘the wrong type of mask’

What are the Eurostar mask rules?

All Eurostar passengers are required to wear a face mask at train stations and on board.

The rule applies to all passengers, including people who are fully vaccinated. 

A Press Office spokesperson said she was not aware of specific rules about the type of face covering passengers must wear.

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Other passengers then complained about the unscheduled, unannounced stop in Lille that caused a 15 minutes delay.

‘Why is Eurostar stopping its trains, and delaying hundreds of passengers, because of a petty dispute over one man’s mask?’ said one.

The female Eurostar manager, who remained on the train after the man was taken into custody, confirmed she had reported him for wearing the ‘wrong type of mask’ for preventing the spread of Coronavirus.

Asked why the man had been forced off the train, one of the Lille police officers confirmed he had been thrown off, and said: ‘We don’t know why, we’ll have to find out.’

The drama unfolded soon after Eurostar 9031 left Paris Gare du Nord at 1.13pm French time on Thursday. 

It was due to travel direct to London, arriving at St Pancras at 2.39pm UK time – just under two-and-a-half hours later.

But within minutes of departure the Eurostar manager was involved in a heated argument with the man.

The man was hauled off the train in Lille, northern France, by eight uniformed officers after he was reported by a Eurostar manager

The man was hauled off the train in Lille, northern France, by eight uniformed officers after he was reported by a Eurostar manager

The man was hauled off the train in Lille, northern France, by eight uniformed officers after he was reported by a Eurostar manager

She accused him of not complying with health and safety regulations, and said the black mask he was wearing was not appropriate.

All Eurostar passengers are expected to wear masks at all times, except for when they are eating or drinking.

There was a buffet on the train, and many of the passengers in Coach 13 – where the man was sitting alone by a window in a two-seat row – had removed their masks completely as they had sandwiches and drinks with them. 

But the manager and the man became embroiled in a row over wearing masks and she used a radio to summon another member of staff.

She then said she would be alerting police at Lille, to make sure that the man was removed ‘as quickly as possible’.

The businessman then replaced his black mask with a standard blue one provided by another passenger. He apologised, and appeared to have escaped any further action.

But when the train got to Lille it made an unscheduled stop, and three armed officers boarded, while the others waiting on the platform. 

All Eurostar passengers are expected to wear masks at all times, except for when they are eating or drinking

All Eurostar passengers are expected to wear masks at all times, except for when they are eating or drinking

All Eurostar passengers are expected to wear masks at all times, except for when they are eating or drinking

‘It was ridiculous,’ said another passenger, a 32-year-old London woman who asked to be referred to by her first name, Li.

‘The Eurostar woman was telling the police what to do, and insisting that the poor guy should be removed, like he was some kind of criminal.

‘He was actually being very reasonable, and not swearing or acting in any kind of disruptive way at all – everybody else was on his side, but he was marched off and we didn’t see him again.’

The Eurostar manager remained on the train until St-Pancras, and was seen leaving the train with a rucksack. 

Eurostar later issued a statement about the man’s arrest.

It reads: ‘Eurostar’s conditions of carriage clearly state that face masks must be worn for the entire journey within the stations and on board, and that failure to comply may result in refusal to travel.

‘Unfortunately, a passenger on board a service from Paris to the UK on Thursday repeatedly removed his mask both in the station and on board, despite gentle reminders from staff. 

‘During the journey, the passenger became aggressive and intimidating towards the on-board team, when they politely reminded him to wear a mask as is required under our conditions of carriage.

‘Eurostar teams have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all of those on board, and this kind of behaviour towards our staff cannot be tolerated. 

‘As a result, the passenger was asked to leave the train at Lille station and in this situation it is normal procedure for the police to attend and assist.’

The governments of France and the UK are currently engaged in a war of words over Brexit and fishing rights.

Paris has threatened to cut off Britain’s access to energy markets and impose trade tariffs as part of ‘retaliatory’ measures, after dozens of French fishermen were denied permits to trawl UK waters.

Source: Daily Mail UK

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