'France railway bans black workers amid Peres visit'

British media: France's national railway barred black workers to verify no Arab employees present during president's visit.

April 16, 2013 05:45
Gare du Nord metro station in Paris.

Gare du Nord metro station 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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France's national railway banned black workers from the station where Israeli President Shimon Peres arrived to ensure that no Arab workers were present.

British media reported late Sunday that SNCF, France's national railway, excluded black and North African railway workers from the Gare du Nord station when Peres came for a visit on March 8 on a high-speed train from Belgium.

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The SUD-Rail transport union filed an official complaint with the railroad, the Daily Telegraph reported, saying everything was done to ensure there were "no Muslim employees to welcome the Head of the State of Israel."

In its complaint, the union said that management assumed anyone from a "black or Arab" background might be Muslim -- an assumption "based on the appearance of the workers." The union called on SNCF to publicly condemn the incident as "unacceptable," according to the newspaper.

A spokesman from the railway company said it would launch a "full investigation."

In the last two years, SNCF admitted that the company participated in transferring Jews to Nazi concentration camps and apologized.

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