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MELBOURNE — Australian police were Thursday investigating after bus passengers were caught on camera hurling a torrent of threatening and racist abuse at a French woman in an incident that went viral on YouTube. The woman and a group of friends were returning from a day at the beach when one of them began singing in her native tongue, prompting an angry reaction from some of the passengers on the packed bus. One aggressively demanded she "speak English or die" and then threatened to cut her breasts off. Another man pushing a pram joined in, shouting that he would knife her. The woman was then told "everybody on the bus wants to kill you" before the incident ended with a bus window being smashed.
Victoria Police say they have identified a victim of the confrontation on the video but are still calling for public assistance. They are particularly keen to speak with a middle aged man with dirty blonde hair they describe as Caucasian in appearance with a red face. Mr Nayna said that after the Frenchwoman started singing in French, a female passenger chanted at her "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie", before another person shouted at her to "speak English or die". Ms Desaintjores says she doesn't judge Australians for the isolated incident and she had never before experienced such hatred during a three-month trip through Australia.
In an opinion piece, Fairfax Media said the most disturbing thing was that so few people spoke up in defence of the woman.
"The majority of passengers were silent and impassive, probably wishing they were elsewhere," it said.
One aggressively demanded she "speak English or die" and then threatened to cut her breasts off.
Another man pushing a pram joined in, shouting that he would knife her.
"It was just weird mob mentality. They were feeding off each other and breaking off into rants and encouraging each other over some racist stuff — it was like a bonding session"