Manchester tram abuse victim receives global support

Juan Jasso Image copyright Channel 4 News/PA
Image caption Juan Jasso said it was only the second incident of its type he had experienced in his 18 years in the UK

A US Army veteran who was racially abused on a tram in Manchester says he has received global support from "complete strangers".

Juan Jasso was targeted by three youths during the incident on a tram in the city centre on Tuesday morning.

Video footage captures him being called "an immigrant" and told to "get back to Africa" when confronting the trio.

"It's been a bit surreal how social media can instantly take an incident like this and make it global," he said.

"I've had a lot of support from complete strangers."

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Mr Jasso was on a tram at Shudehill when he challenged the boys for "swearing profusely" and "visibly upsetting" other commuters.

He responded to the insults saying some people were "extremely ignorant and not very intelligent".

Accent and appearance

He can then be heard saying: "Seven years in the military," as other commuters told the alleged perpetrators "you are an absolute disgrace. A disgrace to England".

Mr Jasso, a sport lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: "I didn't do anything that was disrespectful. I literally just asked them to watch their language.

"I don't think my accent was a part of that [abuse], I think it was more just my appearance."

He said he did not blame anyone else for not commenting until the youths had left the tram, saying "it's for every individual to judge and decide, they shouldn't put themselves in harm's way".

"I challenge people a lot on different things when I'm out, if people are littering, language, loads of different things. If I don't feel comfortable I'll say something," he added.

"I know that when I challenge somebody I'm going to be on my own and I'm still prepared to do that."

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Media captionAlleged 'hate incident' on a Manchester tram

Mr Jasso, from Todmorden, West Yorkshire, who was a signals intelligence analyst for the US Army, said it was only the second incident of its type he had experienced in his 18 years in the UK.

"As a whole this country is very tolerant," he said.

"There are pockets in any society where people may not agree with the government or may not like individuals who are not from their area originally, but I like it here and I think this country has a history of tolerance."

Two men, aged 20 and 18, and a boy, 16, were arrested on suspicion of affray following the incident.

The two teenagers have been bailed until 10 August while the 20-year-old man remains in custody for questioning.

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