Five teenagers have been arrested for allegedly attacking and robbing a lesbian couple who said they were the victims of a vicious homophobic assault on a London bus after refusing demands the pair kiss.
Both women, Melania Geymonat and her girlfriend, Chris, were left bruised and covered in blood, a photo Geymonat posted on her Facebook page shows.
Geymonat said in her post that she and Chris were on a night bus May 29 — days before LGBTQ Pride Month began — traveling to Camden Town when a group of at least four guys insisted they kiss "so they could enjoy watching."
The teens also started "describing sexual positions" and tossed coins at the women, Geymonat wrote.
"In an attempt to calm things down, I started making jokes. I thought this might make them go away. Chris even pretended she was sick, but they kept on harassing us, throwing us coins and becoming more enthusiastic about it," she wrote.
Geymonat said the next thing she knew Chris was in the middle of the bus fighting with the men.
"On an impulse, I went over there only to find her face bleeding and three of them beating her up. The next thing I know is I'm being punched," she posted, saying that she was "bleeding all over."
After the bus stopped, London police eventually showed up.
Metropolitan Police said in a press release Friday that four alleged attackers aged between 15 and 18 years old were arrested on suspicion of robbery and aggravated grievous bodily harm. They were taken to separate police stations for questioning, authorities said.
A fifth person aged 16 was arrested on Saturday morning, police said.
Police Detective Superintendent Andy Cox condemned the assault as a "disgusting attack."
London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted that "hate crimes against LGBT+ people will not be tolerated in London."
A cellphone and a bag were stolen during the altercation, which was caught on surveillance camera, authorities said. Both women, who are in their 20s, were taken to the hospital for injuries to their faces.
Geymonat, who said she has not been able to return to work, told the BBC that she had previously experienced "a lot of verbal violence" because of her sexuality, but had never been physically attacked prior to last week's assault.
"What upsets me the most is that VIOLENCE HAS BECOME A COMMON THING, that sometimes it’s necessary to see a woman bleeding after having been punched to feel some kind of impact," Geymonat wrote on Facebook.