'They picked on me because of my skin color': Paris racism victim

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 19, 2015 6:21 AM

PARIS (Reuters) - The victim of a racist incident involving Chelsea soccer fans in the Paris metro did not know the incident had been filmed and widely broadcast and will now lodge an official complaint with police, he told French daily Le Parisien.

"I don't speak a word of English ... but it was clear to me they were picking on me because of the color of my skin," the victim, identified by Le Parisien as Souleymane, 33, said.

The Paris prosecutor's office has started an investigation to find the people responsible for chanting: "We're racist and that's the way we like it" as they stopped a black man boarding a metro train in Paris on Tuesday.

The incident was captured on video by another passenger on the platform at the Richelieu-Drouot metro station before English club Chelsea played Paris St Germain in a Champions League match at the Parc des Princes in the French capital.

After the incident, which Souleymane said lasted six or seven minutes: "I took the next metro and went back home without telling anyone, not even my wife or kids. What would I have told my kids? That daddy was pushed in the metro because he's black?"

Police said no arrests were made in relation to the match, which ended in a 1-1 draw, but amateur footage posted on The Guardian newspaper website (www.theguardian.com) clearly showed the incident, which has been widely condemned by the soccer authorities including FIFA president Sepp Blatter and both clubs.

"We firmly condemn this intolerable act of discrimination. Only the values of sport should inspire the soccer fans. They value the gathering of all, whatever their origins," a statement from PSG club president Nasser al-Khelaifi said.

"Sport must carry the spirit of fraternity. This problem concerns all club officials and calls for vigilance."

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is expected to address the incident at a press conference on Friday while the English Premier League's only black manager Chris Ramsey, in charge of Queens Park Rangers, said the club should not be blamed for the behavior of their fans.

Souleymane told Le Parisien he was used to racism but it was the first time it happened to him in the Paris underground.

"I didn't know I had been filmed. Talking about this now encourages me to lodge a complaint with the police," he said.

The Metropolitan Police in London have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

(Reporting by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Janet Lawrence and Justin Palmer)