Three men have been arrested after a recent physical assault incident on two gay men in Edinburgh.

The horrific attack took place around 9:20 pm on 30 July in the city centre with numerous onlookers.

In an interview with the Edinburgh News, an eyewitness recalled a group of four men kicking, spitting and punching the two men. After the assault, the assailants robbed them and ran off.

The two victims, who were revealed to be married, are aged 33 and 30.

“It was unprovoked entirely – the gay men did not fight back, they only tried to defend themselves,” the eyewitness said.

“The victim came straight over, thanked me and I asked if he was okay. There was blood on the ground. He burst into tears and I held him as he sobbed so hard into my chest.”

Shortly after the attack, LGBTQ+ activists and leaderships officials condemned the attackers and their actions.

Edinburgh Council Leader Adam McVey opened up about the attack in a series of tweets.

“This isn’t the first violent, homophobic attack this year, my thoughts are with the victims… we all need to unite to condemn these,” he wrote.

“Bigotry is born in playground taunts, which is why work in our schools is so important. Condemning assault while targeting minorities in press etc is, at best counter productive.

“We need to work together as a city to stamp out all root causes of hate.”

The Director of Stonewall Scotland and Northern Ireland, Colin Macfarlane, also shared similar sentiments to McVey on Twitter.

“This is horrific. Hate crimes against LGBT people are on the rise. For many of us, being free to be ourselves requires constant risk assessments to ensure we are safe on our streets,” he wrote.

Nearly a week after the incident, Police Scotland announced on Saturday (7 Aug) that three men have been arrested and charged.

The suspects, who are 23, 22, and 21 years old, have since been released on an undertaking and are expected to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at later date. A report will also be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.

Detective Inspector Mark McGraw opened up about the incident in a statement.

“Any form of hate crime has a huge impact on those targeted. An attack on people because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race or beliefs, is abhorrent and will not be tolerated,” he said.

Related: Scotland passes landmark hate crime bill that gives protection to the LGBTQ+ community