A gay couple say they were beaten mercilessly by a group of men at bar for being “against nature” while a crowd of around 60 people stood by and watched.
The victims, two Frenchmen named Mickaël and Benoît, were attacked on Thursday (15 July) as they were visiting family in the small town of Luri, Corsica.
The island’s public prosecutor has now opened an investigation into the horrific assault, which the victims described in an interview with the French LGBT+ publication TÊTU.
“I was dancing just with my boyfriend, his brother, his wife, and his sister,” Mickaël recalled. “A group of teenagers who were around 15- to 20-years-old made fun of us and called us f****ts.
“[One] shows me a picture of someone p***ing on a rainbow flag. I stay very calm and tell him that I am gay myself. At that moment, he takes out his cross and tells me that it is ‘against nature.’”
At this point the couple had had enough so they decided to make an exit. But the teen who showed them the offensive picture followed them outside the bar.
“A guy grabs my arm and asks me to leave him alone, calling me a queer. That’s when it went nuts,” Mickaël.
Suddenly things turned violent as a group of around 20 men came out of the bar and started beating the gay couple to the ground in between some parked cars.
“I took five punches before I was stuck between two cars with 10 guys on me,” Benoît said. “Fortunately I didn’t lose consciousness, who knows what could have happened… would I still be alive?”
Crowd stood by as we were brutally beaten, gay couple say
As this was happening they say a crowd of around 60 people surrounded the scene, watching passively while doing absolutely nothing to help. “It’s like they just took out some popcorn,” Benoît said in shock.
“We heard them scream ‘F****ts!’ like they were happy to see us die,” Mickaël added.
Fortunately the mob were dispersed by the police, who’d been called by Benoît’s family. An ambulance took the men to hospital where they were treated for broken noses and bruises.
TÊTU confirmed with the Luri police department that there was a violent altercation last night and that an investigation has been opened.
“After watching the fireworks from the town, a group of five people, on holiday in Corsica, went to a Macinaggio harbor bar to spend the evening there,” the prosecutor said in a press release quoted by France Info.
“Around 00:30, two of the members of this group, as a couple, suffered homophobic insults and then violence with kicks and punches on the part of several individuals, causing them total interruptions of work of six and eight days. A third person was injured.”
In a statement, a representative of the Haute-Corse police force said that “such acts have no place in the Republic”.
He condemned “with the utmost firmness this cowardly and violent aggression by a group of people and addresses his full support to the victims and their relatives.”