Owen Jones assaulted: Police appeal after 'senseless attack'

image captionOwen Jones was leaving a pub in north London when a group of men assaulted him

Police in London have appealed for witnesses after Labour activist Owen Jones was attacked by a group of men.

The Metropolitan Police said officers were looking into whether the "senseless attack" was a hate crime.

The Guardian columnist had been celebrating his birthday with friends at the Lexington pub in north London when the men made a "direct beeline" for him in the early hours of Saturday.

Mr Jones has said he believes his attackers were far right activists.

He told the BBC he had left the pub with his friends at about 02:00 BST when a group of men came out of the venue and began kicking and punching him.

Police appealed for information to help identify four male suspects who hurt Mr Jones - as well as assaulting his friends when they tried to intervene.

Mr Jones said the attack was the latest in a series of assaults since he was verbally abused by protesters on College Green in Westminster earlier this year.

'Attack on free speech'

Det Sgt Scott Barefoot said: "This was a completely senseless attack on a man simply enjoying a night out with friends."

"We are looking into the circumstances of this incident, including if it was a hate crime," he said.

Although Mr Jones only sustained minor injuries to his back, arm and head, Det Sgt Barefoot said: "The effects of becoming a victim of such an attack can continue when any injuries have healed."

He urged any witnesses to come forward, anonymously or otherwise. No arrests have been made.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn led condemnation of the attack on Saturday, saying an attack on a journalist was "an attack on free speech and our fundamental values".

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