Two New Zealand teenagers who were holding hands in public were allegedly called homophobic slurs and beaten by a group of other youths.
The incident started around 4:45pm on a inner-city street in New Plymouth’s CBD, on New Zealand’s north island.
The two teens, aged 14 and 15, were seen holding hands by a group of around 13 other teenagers, Stuff.co.nz reported.
The mother of the 14-year-old claimed the group began to follow the pair and hurl homophobic slurs at them.
The verbal onslaught then allegedly turned violent when the group of attackers cornered the two victims.
“Three or four girls from the group punched my child’s friend in the face at least six times,” the mother claimed.
“There was blood.”
Her child, who she said prefers gender-neutral pronouns, tried to intervene and was also attacked.
The teenager was left with abrasions to the body and bruising to an eye after the assault.
New Zealand teenagers ‘targeted for holding hands’
She alleged the incident was a “hate crime” against two “non-aggressive kids who keep to themselves”.
“They were targeted because they were two girls holding hands,” she said.
A police spokesperson told Stuff they received a report of the alleged assault around 5pm on Sunday.
“Indications are that two people were assaulted,” the spokesperson said.
The victim’s mother said the attack continued until a worker at a nearby pharmacy stepped in, she said.
The worker took the two teens into the pharmacy and called their parents and police.
The victim’s mother said the most disturbing part was the two teens had “looked [nearby] adults in the eye and screamed for help” but no one intervened.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.