A Brussels woman of Chinese origin has filed a complaint after a group of five people she walked past hit her with coronavirus-related slurs and later spat on her.
“I was running to catch a bus [in Schaerbeek] when a group of five youth started calling me ‘coronavirus’,” the woman wrote in a Facebook post at the weekend.
The woman wrote that she became upset and cursed at the group before jumping on the bus, who followed her on board.
“I got on the bus and they came after me and threatened to hit me and to take my mobile phone,” she wrote, adding that she stood up for herself and told them she was going to call the police.
“They got off the bus, telling me to shut my mouth and then they spat on me,” she said, adding that she was heading to the “nearest police station” after the incident.
“I had [spit] all over me: on my jacket, my scarf, my hands, my hair…” she told RTBF.
In comments, the woman said that the group of five were particularly aggressive and that the bus driver later admitted he had been “shocked” by the incident and offered to testify before the police.
The Brussels-North police zone was one of several commenters on Facebook to react to the woman’s post, telling her she would be privately contacted by their services so that an investigation could be launched.
The incident comes amid increasing reports of xenophobic and abusive incidents against Asian people as the coronavirus outbreaks continues to spread globally.
In London, police are investigating an attack against a Singaporean student who was beaten and whose attackers reportedly told him: “I don’t want your virus in my country.”
“The coronavirus did not make people racist,” the woman told RTBF. “The coronavirus is used as an excuse to attack segments of the population based on their origins.”
The woman said the police had accepted her complaint on charges of discrimination, threats of physical violence and insults.
The Brussels Times