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Two gay men were brutally beaten after they shared a small kiss at a bar in the capital city of Ajaccio on the French island of Corsica last month. The bar manager and police both later implied the couple, identified only as Eric and Nicolas, had provoked the assault due to their public display of affection, according to France Info.
"Aren't you guys ashamed to kiss here?" Eric said according to a translation When he and Nicolas went to report the crime the following morning, they received a similarly dismissive response.
"One of the officers who talked to us said the same thing as the bar's manager, that we shouldn't be kissing in public," Eric recalled.
According to Eric, he had finished work early on the night of the assault, and contacted his boyfriend, Nicolas, who was vacationing on the island, best known as the birthplace of the 19th century French ruler and military genius Napoleon Bonaparte. The pair met at one of the many bars in the city, and their evening had gone well until the couple was approached by their alleged assailant.
"I felt a hand on my shoulder," Eric recalled. "I turned around and I found myself face-to-face with a guy who was around 20-years-old, who said, 'Aren't you guys ashamed to kiss here?'"
Eric tried to downplay the challenge, but to no avail. The exchange escalated into an argument, with the bar's manager getting angry because Eric and Nicolas were kissing inside the establishment. At this point, the pair left the bar but were followed outside by a small group of patrons.
Nicolas said it was "impossible to remember exactly what happened, it was so fast."
"We didn't even have enough time to turn around before they started punching," Eric remembered.
The pair put up their best fight but were outnumbered and quickly overcome, saved only by other patrons who came out and chased away the drunken homophobes.
Although the first police officer dismissed their claims when they went to report the attack, another officer encouraged the pair to seek medical attention and file a police report, which they did. Eric's injuries were severe enough to require five days off from work and prevent him from chewing for days.
France is often noted for its forward and progressive acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. The northern village of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes recently elected the first out trans mayor in the country.
Ajaccio Mayor Laurent Marcangeli released a statement supporting Eric and Nicolas, with a firm promise that he would always stand beside the "victims of homophobic violence."
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