LONDON, UK — British police arrested a fifth teenager on Saturday following a homophobic attack on a lesbian couple who refused to kiss for a gang of youths on a London night bus.
Melania Geymonat, 28, said she and her date Chris were robbed and left covered in blood after the incident on a bus in the north of the British capital last week.
London’s Metropolitan Police on Friday arrested four teens aged between 15 and 18 on suspicion of involvement in what a senior officer called the “disgusting attack.”
On Saturday officers picked up another 16-year-old male on suspicion of robbery.
All of those detained remain in custody at London police stations, according to the Met.
“They surrounded us and started saying really aggressive stuff, things about sexual positions, lesbians and claiming we could kiss so they could watch us,” Geymonat told the BBC on Friday.
“They started throwing coins. The next thing I know Chris is in the middle of the bus and they are punching her,” she said.
“So I immediately went there by impulse and tried to pull her out of there and they started punching me. I was really bleeding.”
Police said the incident happened in the early hours of May 30 after the two women got on the bus in north London headed to the Camden Town neighborhood.
The women were punched several times before the males ran off the bus after also stealing a phone and bag, the Met added.
Both women were taken to hospital for treatment to facial injuries.
Geymonat is from Uruguay while British newspapers reported that her date was from the US.
Geymonat posted a picture of herself and her partner on Facebook showing their bloodied faces after the attack. In the post, written in English and Spanish, she said the group of teens was behaving like “hooligans,” demanding that they kiss. She wrote that she tried to reason with them, even trying to crack jokes to defuse the situation but the encounter escalated.
English & Español, against CHAUVINIST, MISOGYNISTIC AND HOMOPHOBIC VIOLENCE / En contra del MACHISMO, MISOGINIA Y…
“This was a disgusting attack on two women,” said Detective Superintendent Andy Cox.
“CCTV footage from the attack is being reviewed by detectives.
“We continue to appeal for information from the public,” he added.
Chris told the BBC she has previously experienced “a lot of verbal violence” but had never been assaulted before because of her sexuality.
“I was and still am angry,” she said.
“It was scary, but this is not a novel situation.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday condemned the incident.
“This was a sickening attack and my thoughts are with the couple affected,” she said.
“Nobody should ever have to hide who they are or who they love and we must work together to eradicate unacceptable violence towards the LGBT community.”
TOI staff contributed to this report.