Northern Ireland

Attack on Newry Pride organisers treated as 'homophobic hate crime'

The Mall in Newry Image copyright Google
Image caption The attack took place at the Mall in Newry in the early hours of Sunday, just hours after a Pride parade through the city centre

Police are now treating an attack in which organisers of a Pride festival were assaulted and injured as a homophobic hate crime.

Two men sustained cuts to their face at the Mall in Newry, County Down, in the early hours of Sunday.

Pride in Newry said five of its committee members were "savagely beaten in a vicious homophobic attack".

The Police Ombudsman has received a complaint about how the PSNI dealt with the incident.

Police said they were investigating it on Monday but on Tuesday they confirmed they were treating it as homophobic.

In a statement, a police spokesperson said they were "aware of an altercation" at the Mall at about 02:38 BST on Sunday.

"We take all reports seriously. Where complaints are made to police they will be fully and appropriately dealt with.

"Two men sustained cuts to their face as a result. The police investigation is ongoing," the statement added.

Pride committee member Damien McKevitt told BBC News NI that his partner received stitches to his head and nose after being injured in the attack.

It took place just hours after the committee hosted their fifth annual festival in Newry, celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

On its Facebook page, Pride In Newry said its members were "shocked and deeply saddened" by the homophobic attack.