Man who peacefully protests against homophobia attacked with his own sign in suspected hate crime

Anthony Dolce says he was the victim of a hate crime

A man who stages peaceful protests against homophobia in New York City was reportedly attacked with his own sign, in an incident being treated as a suspected hate crime.

LGBT activist Anthony Dolci, 50, says he was targeted on Saturday, October 7, while protesting on the streets of Manhattan.

Dolci’s one-man peaceful protests are a regular sight across the city, with rainbow banners and signs bearing slogans like “Fight hate crime” and “I choose love not hate”.

Speaking to local broadcaster Pix11, Dolci said he was accosted by a man on the street who grabbed his sign and attacked him with it.

Hate crime protester was victim of suspected hate crime.

Dolci explained: “He called me several bad language words towards my sexuality, being gay.

“He picked up one of my protest signs and he broke it almost in two, then threw it at me, and hit me with my protest sign.

“It makes me sad. This is very personal, this is who I am. I’m celebrating myself being gay, openly gay, and to be attacked by that, it’s very personal and it’s very hurtful.”

Anthony Dolce told Pix11 he was targeted while protesting

Anthony Dolce told Pix11 he was targeted while protesting

The activist was unharmed in the incident.

The reported attack is being investigated by New York City Police Department’s Hate Crime Unit, the force confirmed. Officers have appealed for anyone with information about the incident to come forward.

Activist says he is ‘not afraid’ of expressing himself.

The protester said it was not the first time he has been targeted with anti-gay slurs while protesting.

Dolci added: “I was in the closet for a long time and those days are done. I’m done with that.

“Now I’m openly gay and I’m not afraid of expressing myself and people should not feel threatened by my gayness.”

It is far from the only hate crime the city has seen recently.

Last week, a man who fractured a woman’s spine in a violent homophobic attack on the subway pleaded guilty to committing a hate crime.

In August, police in the city put out a separate appeal for a man who allegedly sprayed anti-gay graffiti onto the side of a building.

The NYPD task force put out a plea for help finding the man who is believe to have scrawled the message “KILL THE GAY AWAY” on the side of a gate in the East Village.