A gay couple in Montpellier, France were beaten and had their home pillaged by a gang of youths in “a scene of incredible violence”.
The incident occurred when two teenagers saw a gay couple smoking cigarettes from their window.
They approached the men and asked them: “Are you queer?” according to local media reports.
When the men said they were, the teenagers hurled insults at them and allegedly threatened to kill them.
The two teenagers briefly left, but quickly arrived back with two other people. A physical fight broke out, with one of the assailants sustaining an injury in the process.
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The gang of youths then pushed their way into the gay couple’s home where they broke the front door and smashed their windows using beer bottles.
The gay couple, along with two neighbours who tried to intervene, ended up hiding in the bathroom while the youths trashed the apartment.
Local media said the youths destroyed the apartment in what was described as a “scene of incredible violence”.
They proceeded to steal a video game console, a pair of shoes and an Armani watch – but police quickly caught up with the assailants.
They were tracked down that night at a trolley station and were arrested. They now face charges of theft, destruction of property, making death threats, as well as a potential hate crime charge.
The group of youths – one of whom was an adult while the rest were minors – were all from the Paris area and were holidaying in Montpellier when the incident occurred.
Montpellier is well known among France’s LGBT+ community as one of the most accepting and welcoming cities in the country for queer people.
The city was home to France’s first ever same-sex wedding in 2013 when Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau tied the knot.