- The two women who were beaten on a London bus because they refused to kiss have blamed the attack on the rise of rightwing populism.
- Melania Geymonat and Chris were targeted last month in a bloody assault. Five people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
- “I want people to feel emboldened to stand up to the same people who feel emboldened by the rightwing populism,” Chris told the BBC.
- British Prime Minister Theresa May said the attack was “sickening.”
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The two women who were brutally beaten on a London bus for refusing to kiss have blamed the attack on the rise of rightwing populism in a defiant interview.
Speaking to the BBC on the day the story broke about their assault, Melania Geymonat and Chris said they would not be intimidated by the incident, which took place on a London night bus in the early hours of the morning on May 30.
Chris, a 29-year-old American, said: “I want people to feel emboldened to stand up to the same people who feel emboldened by the rightwing populism that is, I feel, responsible for the escalation in hate crimes.”
She added that other lesbian couples should not be afraid about their identity and showing affection in public. “I am not scared about being visibly queer,” she told the BBC. “If anything, you should do it more.”
Geymonat, who is 28 and originally from Uruguay, agreed with her partner. She added: “The violence is not only because we are women which are dating each other. It’s also because we are women.”
Five people have been arrested in connection with the attack, according to London’s Metropolitan Police, which saw both women treated in hospital for facial injuries.
“This was a disgusting attack on two women who appear to have been picked out and targeted by a group of youths,” Detective Superintendent Andy Cox said in a statement.
According to Metropolitan Police figures, homophobic hate crime has doubled in London over the past five years, rising from 1,156 incidents to 2,079 in the 12 months to February 2018.
Describing the attack, Geymonat said: “They wanted us to kiss so they could watch us. I tried to defuse the situation as I’m not a confrontational person, telling them to please leave us alone as Chris wasn’t feeling well. The next thing I remember was Chris in the middle of them, and they were beating her.”
When she attempted to help her girlfriend, the youths turned on her as well, punching her in the face. “They started beating me, I was bleeding all over – I was really bleeding,” Geymonat told BBC Radio 4 in another interview.
“They started beating me, I was bleeding all over – I was really bleeding”
— The World at One (@BBCWorldatOne) June 7, 2019
Politicians have roundly condemned the attack, including British Prime Minister Theresa May. According to The Guardian, she said: “This was a sickening attack and my thoughts are with the couple affected. 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.”
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