Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin went to Bayonne on Saturday afternoon where he wanted to "reaffirm" the values of authority and meet the family of the bus driver who died of his assault.
"The solution is to reaffirm authority" because "too often in our society, authority is not respected," said the minister after his meeting with the driver's colleagues, Philippe Monguillot.
"As Minister of the Interior, never the President and the Prime Minister can allow gratuitous, unacceptable violence to become commonplace," he said. "It is not a simple news item," he added, denouncing "barbaric acts which have no excuse".
The minister had started his trip by meeting the driver's family at his home in Bayonne, announcing that measures would be taken, "for drivers from here, but also from all over France," a correspondent for the AFP driver's youngest daughter, Marie, 18.
"He told us that he was sorry for the situation, that the government had heard us," continued Marie Monguillot, referring to this 30 to 45 minute interview, "additional support, an extra strength," she said. .
Mr. Darmanin then went to the town hall of the Basque city to meet with elected officials and to the sub-prefecture, for a working meeting with representatives of the State on the subject of security.
"We must respond to the new delinquency that seems to be emerging around the stations of your territories but also in public transport," he urged.
But "it is not a question of announcing a new law, of announcing an increase in budget or an increase in staff to resolve the intrinsic problem of French society," said the minister, stressing the role of parents and education.
He ended his trip with a meeting with the drivers of the agglomeration who have expressed their indignation since Monday by using their right of withdrawal. They are due to hit the road again Monday "under heightened security conditions," according to transport operator Keolis.
"For the moment, the minister has not made a promise," reported an AFP correspondent Benjamin Blanc, a former police officer converted into a bus driver. "We were able to tell him the things that were wrong, he heard them I hope. Afterwards, will he understand them and move? We can only cross our fingers."
The family of Philippe Monguillot announced Friday evening the death of the 59-year-old driver, who has been brain dead since his assault.
Father of three daughters aged 18, 21 and 24 was attacked "severely", beaten and seriously injured in the head while trying to control a person's ticket and demanded the wearing of the mask for three other passengers, according to the Bayonne prosecution.
At the announcement of his death, calls for more severe sanctions followed one another in the ranks of the right, the deputy LR Eric Ciotti demanding "heavy sanctions against (the) murderers" as the mayor LR of Nice, Christian Estrosi, for whom "this barbaric act calls for the most severe sanctions".
Aged 22 and 23 and known to the police, two men are in pre-trial detention, under investigation for "attempted intentional homicide", an offense which must be reclassified as "intentional homicide on a transport agent "at the request of the prosecution. Two accomplices in their thirties were also imprisoned for "failure to assist a person in danger".
© 2020 AFP