A French discriminatory poster with the French National Railway Society (FNRS) logo warns those travelling by train to be "very vigilent" towards Romanian citizens and to take care of their luggage, Rue89.com informs. Contacted by French journalists, FNRS apologised and tagged the gesture as "unfortunate wording" of one of its staff.
On february 1, writer Mouloud Akkouche was travelling by train and discovered the following poster:
"In the last weeks many concerns occured addressing Romanians.
there have been many luggage thefts.
We ask you to be very vigilent.
Actually, everything that Romanians do must be reported to the FNRS security service dialing 19# or 01 40 23 19 99".
At that point, the writer thiut it was a joke, but he dialed the number and FNRS were at the other end of the line. Then he photographed the poster and sent it to Rue89.
FNRS apologises: We're undergoing an internal investigation
Contacted by French journalists, FNRS communication service from Midi-Pyrenees admits that "this note existed".
"It was stuck in varius trains from the region. An agent made an unfortunate wording. We have been alerted in the beginning of February by his colleagues and we immediately took down the posters."
"The FNRS regkional leadership expressed its regret for this incident and mentioned that this does not represent the society's opinion. "An internal investigation is under way to find out how this was possible."
According to the FNRS, no passenger complained about this poster, which remained stuck on for about a week.
FNRS security service says that they have not been noticed on any actions made by Romanians that would justify such a poster.
The French readers' comments
The article raised interest among French readers - no less than 295 people commented the incident, mostly accusing the racism
One of the readers proposes with bitter irony to force a yellow star for Romanians, similar to the treatment Jews had to endure during Nazi times, especially since Romanians cannot be distinguished only judging by their looks.
Another adds: "les roumains dont ils parlent sont surement des tziganes...", meaning the Romanians the poster talks about are certainly the Gypsies.
"The comments are very interesting... but the Roma people (which you mistake for Romanians) which the Police recognise as just as much in common with Romanians from a cultural and ethnic point of view as the French do", another comment goes.
One reader indicates how a Romanian can be recognised: "Easy!! ... One is often physically impaired, has many osier baskets and speaks with a strong Eastern accent. When a Romanian walks away, he drags a heavy suitcase behind which does not belong to him and the moment he passed the street corner, he stops being physically impaired and drives a new Mercedes to go back to his family, who play the guitar around a wood fire".