Detectives are questioning two people over a racist tirade on a train that was filmed and posted online, with the ugly behaviour of the passenger involved drawing condemnation from the Australian prime minister.
The five-minute video shows a young man swearing and hurling racial slurs at a Queensland Rail train guard who had asked him to take his feet off the seats.
“Learn some fucking English because this is Australia, because I can’t understand you,” the man says. “Do you even have citizenship?”
When another rail officer steps in the young man calls him a “dumb white dog”.
Other passengers eventually intervene, telling the man to get off the train, but he declares: “I’ll sit on this train for hours if I have to, I’ll hold everyone up. I really don’t care,” before continuing to hurl foul language and racial insults and confront other occupants of the train.
After the footage went viral on Saturday evening a Facebook user claiming to be the man shown in the video left a comment claiming he had been drunk. “I was just drunk couldn’t remember shit so stop over reacting, but I am proud to be white!” the post read.
Another comment followed several hours later: “I’m really sorry to everyone that was affected by the video, I really can not remember anything out of all honesty, the post made before was someone else, I know this is no excuse.
“But can you all see from my point of view that I was a fucking idiot and I’m really sorry.”
A police spokesman confirmed that two people were being questioned on Sunday afternoon.
The Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, told reporters in Brisbane the footage was “deplorable”.
“I think it’s un-Australian to abuse people in a public place just because you don’t like the way they look, or you don’t like the way they dress, or you make assumptions about what they believe,” he said.
The Queensland state premier, Campbell Newman, praised the “dignity and aplomb” of the guard at the centre of the attack, saying he had shown “admirable restraint”.
“His name is Joe. I haven’t talked to him yet but I intend to talk to him,” Newman said. “He didn’t inflame things – from what I’ve seen he did a really good job in the difficult circumstances.”
Queensland Rail also congratulated the guard and said it was “disgusted at the anti-social behaviour” of the passenger. “We strive to provide a safe workplace for our people and to see this occur is appalling,” it said in a statement.
The incident is the latest in a series of racist attacks caught on camera on Australian public transport.
In July a woman was filmed abusing two people on a train in Sydney, make racist gestures at an Asian woman and telling her male companion he was “sad” and “pathetic”.
The 55-year old woman later apologised, saying she had been having a “really, really rotten day”.
In April last year video footage surfaced of a woman on a Melbourne train screaming at a dark-skinned passenger, telling him “It’s my fucking country” and using racial insults.
A French tourist on a Melbourne bus was told to “speak English or die” and threatened with having her breasts cut off in another incident caught on camera in November 2012. Australian Broadcasting Corporation newsreader Jeremy Fernandez, who has a Malaysian background, alsowrote last year of being racially abused in front of his young daughter and told to go back his “own country” by a woman on a bus in Sydney.
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Published on Sep 4, 2014