A gay man who was attacked in Belfast has spoken of his disgust after he was left with cuts and bruises to his face.
James Hall was attacked in Belfast city centre yesterday morning.
Originally from Ballyclare, James had been enjoying a night out, before the incident took place.
In a video posted on Facebook shortly after the incident occurred, blood can be seen running down his face.
James said: “I was walking through town and two fellas were walking towards me. Out-of-the-blue they started shouting insults at me. I asked them ‘what’s the issue?’ One of them then punched me.”
James believes that he was attacked, simply for being gay. He added: “I have never experienced anything like this before. It has put me off going out and to be honest I am finding it hard to leave the house. It has knocked my confidence.
“It could happen again, but I know there is a lot of support available. My injuries aren’t the worst. I have cuts and bruises and a headache. I have been left extremely shaken by the incident and I couldn’t stop crying yesterday.”
Messages of support have been pouring in for James since the attack took place. James wishes to thank everyone who has sent their well-wishes to him. He added: “I just want to thank everyone who has sent messages of support. People I don’t even know have been sending me messages of support on Facebook. It really means a lot.”
Cllr David Arthurs has called for an end to such attacks. The UUP representative stated: “I am appalled at such an attack. This type of homophobic attack has no place in our country! We are in the year 2016 and we live in a shared society. All hate crime in Northern Ireland has to come to an end! I’d call for anyone with any information to call the PSNI.”
Cllr Julie-Anne Corr Johnston has condemned the attack. The Progressive Unionist Party representative said: “Belfast is a strong and diverse city and its people have the right to live their lives free from violence. I wholly condemn this attack and stand with the victim, calling on other political representatives to do the same.”
A PSNI spokesperson said: “Police are appealing for information following the report of an assault on a man in the Little Donegall Street area of Belfast at approximately 3am yesterday morning.
“Inspector Antony Frazer would appeal to anyone who may have witnessed this assault to contact police at Tennent Street on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 290 16/10/16. Alternatively, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can call the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”