Police in London have arrested a fifth suspect on suspicion of punching two women on a bus because they are lesbians.
The 16-year-old boy was taken into custody Saturday. Four other male suspects were arrested Friday. All have been released on bail pending a court appearance in July.
Police said Saturday that all of suspects are between 15 and 18 years old, and that officers aren’t looking for anyone else in connection with the attack.
Authorities didn’t identify the victims in the May 30 attack. But Melania Geymonat, a 28-year-old Uruguayan, posted an image on her Facebook page showing her bloodied face and that of her girlfriend Chris, a 29-year-old American.
Geymonat said in the post that they were on the upper deck of the bus when a gang of “hooligans” demanded that they kiss. The women tried to reason with them, but the incident escalated.
“The next thing I know is that Chris is in the middle of the bus fighting with them,” she wrote. “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.”
The couple were treated in hospital for facial injuries.
Extra police on patrol
“As they sat on the top deck, they were approached by a group of four males who began to make lewd and homophobic comments to them,” police said in a statement Friday.
“The women were then attacked and punched several times before the males ran off the bus.”
Det. Supt. Andy Cox called it “a disgusting attack on two women who appear to have been picked out and targeted by a group of youths.”
He said Saturday that extra uniformed and plainclothes officers would be out on patrol this weekend to offer reassurance.
Geymonat told BBC Radio the men began harassing them when they discovered she and her girlfriend, Chris, were a couple.
“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 said.
“To ease the situation I tried to make some jokes, [as if] Chris wasn’t understanding because she didn’t speak English. She even acted as if she was sick … but they started throwing coins.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the reported attack “disgusting” — joining Prime Minister Theresa May and Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn in condemning the incident — and said hate crimes will not be tolerated in his city.
British MP Harriet Harman invited the women to contact her so they could get a “proper House of Commons welcome.”
This is horrific. So sorry. This is not what London is. Email me so we can give u proper <a href=”https://twitter.com/HouseofCommons?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@HouseofCommons</a> welcome! <a href=”https://twitter.com/melaniageymonat?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@melaniageymonat</a> <a href=”https://t.co/im3tTfAJ8R”>https://t.co/im3tTfAJ8R</a>