Five teenagers have been arrested in connection with a case that has shocked not only the U.K. but the world after a gay couple was badly beaten up on a London bus for refusing to kiss.
A fifth male, aged 16, has now been taken into custody, joining four other teens aged between 15 and 18, on suspicion of physically assaulting two women on a bus in the British capital before robbing them and fleeing the scene, as reported by Sky News. Uruguayan citizen Melania Geymonat and her American girlfriend, who has only been identified by her first name Chris, were the victims of a homophobic attack that left them badly injured on Thursday, May 30.
The couple were on their way home in Camden, north London, when the group of men started verbally harassing them upon noticing they were an item. Twenty-eight-year-old Geymonat stated that at one point, the men asked them to kiss, and it was when they profusely refused that the situation escalated.
The two women, who were the only ones sitting on the top deck of the double-decker bus aside from the assailants, were punched several times across the face before the attackers ran off the bus with some of their belongings too. Now, all five men are being questioned in custody at different police stations in the city on suspicion of robbery and aggravated burglary.
“We must have kissed or something because these guys came after us. They started behaving like hooligans, demanding that we kissed so they could enjoy watching, calling us ‘lesbians’ and describing sexual positions,” Geymonat described in a Facebook post.
"They surrounded us and started saying really aggressive stuff, things about sexual positions, lesbians and claiming we could kiss so they could watch us,” Dr. Geymonat told the BBC and Montevideo Portal Friday.https://t.co/IWatNbTScW
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) June 7, 2019
She added that she started “making jokes” in an attempt to appease them, but that none of their efforts seemed to make the group stop the harassment. She said that it was when her girlfriend Chris confronted them that they became violent, with three of them beginning to “beat her up.” When she tried to intervene, she was also attacked.
“I got dizzy at the sight of my blood and fell back. I don’t remember whether or not I lost consciousness. Suddenly the bus had stopped, the police were there and I was bleeding all over,” the victim explained.
The couple have also been interviewed by BBC Radio 4’s World at One, saying that they are still “angry” about the situation but fiercely reinforcing that they are “not scared about being visibly queer.”
“They started beating me, I was bleeding all over – I was really bleeding”
— The World at One (@BBCWorldatOne) June 7, 2019
An investigation is currently underway, with local authorities examining CCTV footage from the bus in order to determine exactly what happened. As per The Guardian, the attack has been condemned by politicians across the U.K., with Prime Minister Theresa May deeming it a “sickening” incident and stating that everyone must “work together to eradicate unacceptable violence towards the LGBT community.” London Mayor Sadiq Khan said hate crimes such as this one “will not be tolerated” in the city.