A Black London man is out speaking after he was the target of racist abuse by six white commuters aboard the London Underground last week.
Video of the incident, which took place on the Northern Line just before Kennington station on March 8, shows the group making monkey noises in the direction of a Black passenger, after which one of the men hops on the seats and starts impersonating an ape.
Victim Mohammed Dirir, 27, said he was shocked by it all.
“I was on the train, minding my own business,” Dirir told Daily Mail Online. “I saw a group of white men getting on and they saw me and they started doing these monkey noises and monkey movements. I tried to ignore it as much as possible but one of the guys gave me a thumbs up, and then I realized he wanted me to know I was being targeted.”
Dirir, who’s originally from the Netherlands, said he confronted the men and asked them to repeat their offensive gestures so that he could film it. In the videos, fellow train riders are heard sympathizing with Dirir as the men continued their racial abuse, one woman dubbing the group a “bunch of [expletives].”
“F—–g racists on this train,” Dirir also says in the clip, addressing the men directly. “Oh yeah yeah yeah, you think you’re so tough … We’ve got white monkeys on this train.”
At one point, one of the men in question jumps onto the train seats and waddles, ape-like, over to Dirir before charging straight for his camera while making loud monkey sounds. The CEO of local tech startup PalQeis said he had to resist the urge to pummel the men, despite his anger.
“I could’ve fought them but then again, everybody would say I was just responding to hate with hate and adding more fuel to the fire,” he told the news site. “Being the man I am, I was raised to show love rather than hate. I had to set an example. You saw what happened.”
Dirir continued: “All this racism that’s going on, it’s nonsense. We’re all the same. Ignorant people like that need to be guided, and I pray to God that he guides them.”
Dirir later shared the video to his Instagram page, where he doubled down on his message of unity and urged people of color across the world to “stay strong.”
A friend of the victim also spoke out on Twitter, calling for the six men to be identified and punished by police. In the video, Dirir said he suspected the men were drunk but his friend argued that “being drunk is NOT an excuse” for racist behavior.
Siwan Hayward, Transport for London’s Director of Policing, addressed the incident in a statement, saying the transport system has zero tolerance for “any acts of racist behavior on our network and take all reports like this extremely seriously.” The agency also called on witnesses to come forward and file an official report with British Transport police.
Watch more in the video below.