Melania Geymonat, 28, and her partner Chris, 29, were attacked on the top deck of a London bus for refusing to kiss for the entertainment of four men.

The couple was travelling to Camden Town from West Hamstead in the early hours of May 30 when a group of men started harassing them, making crude jokes and insisting that they kiss.

When they refused, they were beaten up, and their phones and bags were stolen.

“There were at least four of them,” wrote Geymonat in a Facebook post with a picture of the facial injuries they suffered. “They started behaving like hooligans, demanding that we kissed so they could enjoy watching, calling us ‘lesbians’ and describing sexual positions. In an attempt to calm things down, I started making jokes. I thought this might make them go away. Chris even pretended she was sick, but they kept on harassing us, throwing us coins and becoming more enthusiastic about it.”

London police reviewed CCTV footage of the incident, and arrested four suspects aged between 15 to 18 on Friday under charges of robbery and aggravated grievous bodily harm, reported the UK Metro.

“The violence is not just because we are women dating each other,” said Geymonat who is from Uruguay and lives in London, “but also because we are women.”

Over the five years leading to 2018, reported homophobic hate crimes across London have increased from 1,488 in 2014 to 2,308 in 2018, according to the Met Police’s crime dashboard, reported the BBC.

“I was and still am angry,” Chris told the BBC. “It was scary, but what is still making me angry is that this is not a novel situation.”