The parents of three young boys attacked in Londonderry at the weekend say they were targeted because they were Protestants.
Police are treating the attack, which happened at the city side entrance of the Peace Bridge, as a sectarian hate crime.
Two of the boys who were attacked are 15, the other is 13.
Speaking to the BBC, the mother of one of the victims said that they were beaten by a gang of up to 25 youths in Friday night’s attack.
“There will be long-term repercussions because of this attack,” she said. “My son was kicked in the head and had a handprint on his throat.
“A taxi man stopped to help my son and if he hadn’t stopped it would be a very different scenario today.”
The father of another victim said his son’s face was covered in blood.
“It looks like my son has a broken nose. He was in a really bad way,” he said. “A crowd of boys came over and they were calling them names about their religion.”
SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan strongly condemned the attack.
Mr Durkan said: “It is sickening that these young innocent boys were so viciously assaulted.
“We must unite in expressing our disgust at, and rejection of, this attack and everything it represents.
“This attack highlights just how primitive and pernicious sectarianism is.
“It must have been a harrowing and distressing experience for the young boys and their families – and my thoughts are with them at this traumatic time.
“Sectarianism is an evil in our community that needs to be stamped out and people throughout Derry do not want this savagery on their streets.
“I appeal to anyone who saw or has any information about those responsible for this attack to fully cooperate with the police so that they can be brought to justice.”