Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki
A gay couple has been attacked in Edinburgh over the weekend in a suspected homophobic attack.
The victim, who were in their 30s were attacked and robbed by a group in the city centre on Friday night (30 July).
The incident is reported to have happened in the Leith Street area near John Lewis at around 9:20pm.
“I held him as he sobbed so hard into my chest”
The Edinburgh News spoke to one eyewitness - who contacted police - who says they saw four men punching, kicking and spitting on a man before stealing his bag and running away, in the direction of the Omni centre.
The eyewitness told the paper they were left “trembling”, and that "He burst into tears and I held him as he sobbed so hard into my chest.
“He told me he did not know why they did it to him.”
The witness also told the paper that the victim said attackers used homophobic slurs during the assault. They added that no passers-by intervened and that some even laughed during the incident.
The Edinburgh News reports that the victims are a gay couple and that one of them has received hospital treatment following the attack.
A statement issued to the Edinburgh News from Police Scotland 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."
In June, The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service reported that hate crimes related to sexual orientation was the second most reported type of hate crime in the 2020-21 year, with 1,580 charges being reported, representing a 5% increase on the previous year.
Figures in Scotland differ from other parts of the UK in that they cover the number of hate crime charges as opposed to the number of individuals charged for such crimes or the number of incidents that led to charges.
In a statement provided to Attitude, Detective Inspector Mark McGraw said: "The investigation into an assault and robbery against two men on Leith Street, Edinburgh on Friday 30 July is ongoing and it is being treated as a hate crime.
"We understand that hate crimes can have a huge impact on those targeted and an attack on people because of their sexual orientation, gender, race or beliefs, is not only abhorrent but will not be tolerated. Anyone who was in the Leith Street area of Edinburgh at around 9:20pm on Friday 30 July and may have information that could assist with our enquiry is urged to contact Police Scotland, quoting incident 3663 of 30 July."
The Attitude Body Issue is out now.