UK police have arrested at least six people suspected of viciously beating an Iranian teenage asylum seeker in an apparent hate crime attack.
On Saturday, police charged four men and two women, all in their 20s, with attempting to murder a 17-year-old boy the day before. The attack left the boy in critical condition with a fractured skull and a blood clot on his brain.
The teen was standing at a bus stop in Croydon, south London, on Friday night, when at least 8 youths approached him and began chasing him once they realized he was not British.
The ruthless beating stopped only when people intervened and police arrived at the scene.
According to witnesses, there were about a dozen people involved in the attack, while as many as 20 people watched the teen get brutalized.
“There was a group of roughly 10 people kicking and punching him and the rest, another 10 or 20, were all just around watching,” one resident told the media. “He was getting absolutely beaten up - kicked mostly in the facial area.”
The attack was declared by police as a hate attack. Officers have been asking witnesses to come forward with information.
Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, condemned the attack on Sunday, saying “hate crime has no place in London.”
“London is an amazingly diverse city. We don't just accept our differences, but we embrace and celebrate them,” he said in a statement.
“Our communities will not be divided by those who seek to sow hate. And we will always take a zero tolerance approach to hate crimes of any type,” the statement added.
The Refugee Council said it was “disgusted” by the assault and called for the assailants to be swiftly arrested.
Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell also condemned the attack, asking people with info to help police find the “scum” responsible for it.
Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe, Croydon’s local police commander, said extra officers were patrolling the streets to reassure people who were shocked by the ferocity of the attack.