Ilija Vučević was left needing medical treatment after the attack, and shared a bloody selfie on Facebook.
A man who was carrying a pink dog carrier has been brutally attacked in Belgrade, Serbia, after his attackers wrongly assumed he was gay.
Police have arrested two men over the attack on Ilija Vučević at a pizza restaurant in central Belgrade on Friday night.
Vučević was left needing medical treatment after the attack, and shared a bloody selfie on Facebook.
Victim was carrying his wife’s pink dog carrier
He explained that the two attackers “thought I was gay because I had a pet bag on my shoulder” – while his wife, Marija, was nearby with the dog.
The victim wrote: “Tonight I was brutally attacked in the center of Belgrade because two hooligans thought that pink dog transporter bag is a proof that I’m a homosexual.
“Three lost teeth, one stitch and several bruises are the [result] of the attack. Despite not being a homosexual, tonight I am proud to ‘be’ one of them.”
He told Serbian outlet N1 that the incident started out as “verbal attacks” but escalated after he challenged the men over their use of homophobic slurs, adding: “That may have been my mistake, that I dared to answer back, and not keep quiet.”
Vučević explained that after the altercation turned violent his wife intervened, causing the attackers to flee. She then called the police and an ambulance.
Serbia police should record attack as anti-LGBT hate crime, victim says
Police confirmed on Sunday that they had arrested two men on suspicion of attacking the 39-year-old.
He added: “I hope it will be characterised as a hate crime. Although I do not belong to the LGBT community, I was attacked for it.”
LGBT people have little legal recognition in Serbia, which bans same-sex marriage. The country has a lesbian Prime Minister, Ana Brnabić, but the conservative leader has distanced herself from LGBT+ campaigners and has been accused of doing little to advance the cause of LGBT+ equality.