Two gay men in their 30’s were beaten and robbed in a vicious assault on Friday night. The attack on the couple took place on a busy Edinburgh high street in front of shocked onlookers.
An eye-witness contacted police and reported that they saw a group of four men, thought to be in their early 20’s, punching, kicking and spitting on a man on the ground before stealing a bag and fleeing the scene.
The witness added: “It was unprovoked entirely – the gay men did not fight back, they only tried to defend themselves. The boys were laughing, egging each other on and calling the victims poofs.”
Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News, the eye-witness also said they were left “trembling” in the aftermath of the attack on Friday night. They added: “The victim came straight over, thanked me and I asked if he was okay. There was blood on the ground. He burst into tears and I held him as he sobbed so hard into my chest.”
The attackers have not yet been identified and members of the LGBTQ+ community in Edinburgh and beyond are eager for more witnesses to come forward.
According to Edinburgh Evening News, Police Scotland have since confirmed that the case is officially being investigated as a hate crime.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We received a report of an assault and robbery against two men on Leith Street, Edinburgh, around 9.20pm on Friday, 30 July.
“Both men – aged 33 and 30 – weren’t seriously injured. Enquiries are ongoing. Anyone with information should contact Police Scotland via 101 quoting incident number 3636 of 30 July.”
Leader of Edinburgh City Council, Adam McVey has condemned the attack on the couple:
Horrific to hear of homophobic robbery & assault on a gay couple 9.20pm, Friday, Leith St.
Anyone with info please contact @EdinburghPolice on 101 quoting incident no. 3636, 30 July to help catch perpetrators.
Edinburgh is a Proud 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ & safe City but this should worry us all.
— Cllr Adam McVey (@adamrmcvey) August 2, 2021
Director of Stonewall Scotland and Stonewall Northern Ireland, Colin MacFarlane also shared his thoughts on the attack:
This is horrific. Hate crimes against LGBT people are on the rise. For many of us, being free to be ourselves requires constant risk assessments to ensure we are safe on our streets. If you have any info please contact @policescotland https://t.co/YT7q9uJYWE
— colin macfarlane (@Cmacf76) August 1, 2021
Jordan Daly, founder of Scottish inclusive education charity Time for Inclusive Education (TIE), wrote: “Horrifying. This is why deciding to hold hands, or kiss, or cuddle in public is often accompanied by fear, and feels like a risk assessment.”
If you or someone you know becomes a victim to an act of hate crime in Ireland, report it to your local Garda Station. You can find more information on this poster provided by An Garda Síochana.
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