Thugs beat up gay couple for holding hands on New Year’s Day in London

London's Metropolitan Police issued an homophobic assault appeal for three men

Police have appealed for help after hate crime attack on a gay couple holding hands on London’s South Bank on New Year’s Day.

Following the homophobic assault, London’s Metropolitan Police put out an appeal for four men they are looking to speak with in connection with the incident.

Police were called at 2:30pm on January 1 following reports that two men were assaulted in “an unprovoked attack” close to the National Theatre on London’s South Bank.

The victims, aged 28 and 31, who were holding hands at the time of the attack, suffered facial injuries and bruising in the assault. They did not require hospital treatment.

The four suspects are all described as white, aged in their mid-20s and wearing hooded tops. They left in the direction of the OXO Tower.

The homophobic assault is being treated as a hate crime.

Police appeal after the homophobic assault

Police have issued a public appeal, releasing an image of three of the four suspects they are seeking to identify following the attack.

Homophobic assault appeal

Police are asking the public if they recognise those photographed. (Metropolitian Police)

The Metropolitan Police appeal adds: “Anyone with information is asked to contact officers at Lambeth via 101 quoting reference 6108/1Jan or tweet @MetCC.

“Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.”

London takes tough stance on homophobic hate crime

London has recently seen a renewed focus on tackling hate crime, with a large investment in an online hate crime hub.

Speaking to PinkNews previously, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “Let me be clear, hate crime will not be tolerated anywhere in London. In London, you are free to be whoever you are happy, and safe.

“London is a warm, inclusive and welcoming place, and I’m grateful for all of your support over the last 16 months, not for me, but for all of us.

“London is open to all people regardless of race, gender and sexuality and open to love.”