With England’s Manchester Pride Weekend canceled, actor Adam Ali and two friends—all identifying as members of the LGBTQ community—went out for drinks on Friday, August 28.
Making their way home through the city center and approaching the area known as the Manchester gay village, the three friends encountered a group of four teens. The teens were later identified by Ali in an Instagram post as Kamran Saxon, Safia Saxon, Georgia Lleigh and Sinead Thomson.
The teens approached Ali’s friend, a transgender woman who wishes to remain anonymous. The teens called the woman “beautiful” and “gorgeous” then demanded a hug and selfies with her.
Ali’s friend politely declined citing the ongoing pandemic. After their demands were refused, the teens turned on the transgender woman, calling her “ugly” and a transphobic slur.
Ali told PinkNews UK:
“We just minded our own business.”
“We kept walking away, but from that minute on I decided I had to film everything.”
“One of the girls pounced on my friend, and she had a drink in her hand and I just knew she was just looking to pour it over [my friend].”
Ali placed himself between his friend and the teen he later identified as Sinead Thomson. The teen threw her drink in Ali’s face instead of over his friend’s head.
Ali asked Thomson to leave them alone, but she instead brought her friends to help her attack Ali and his two friends.
Bystander Jack Weir—who also identifies as LGBTQ—witnessed the attack unfolding and decided to intervene.
Weir described the attack, saying:
“As they were walking our way and being harassed by the girls, the victim proceeded to politely ask her to back away and leave her alone.”
“I got more concerned when [Thomson] started hurling transphobic comments and threw her drink at everyone.”
“She immediately breaks off to go get the rest of her mates, they circle back and it gets physical pretty quickly. As soon as it started my impulse was just to leg it over and push them out of the way.”
“I couldn’t not do anything. It was clearly a transphobic assault taking place.”
“Trans people get 100 times more hate as it is so my instinct was to at least get their attention off her and on to me…”
Weir’s tactic proved effective and the teens directed their violence towards him.
“They were dragging me down by my hair and swung me against a metal bollard (pole) pretty hard.”
Ali described the attack on Weir.
“Jack has quite long hair, and they kept pulling his hair, dragged him across the [ground]. All of them were beating him, kicking him in the stomach… chunks of hair were coming out of his head.”
Ali decided to run to get help, searching for police in the nearby gay village area of Manchester.
“It takes me like two, three minutes to run back to Canal Street. Then, I see the police and I’m just screaming ‘My friend’s been attacked, hurry, hurry’.”
Returning with two police officers after an estimated 10 minutes, he saw the assault on Weir was ongoing. The officers halted the attack, but merely walked the assailants away with no interest in viewing the video of the assault according to Ali.
Adam Ali said he and the other victims were left waiting on the street for an hour.
“[Police weren’t] concerned that we’re in a state of shock and we shouldn’t be on the street and it’s cold, it’s the middle of the night.”
“I’m sat there with my friends like in disbelief crying my eyes out, bawling my eyes out… [The assailants] weren’t taken to jail or, you know, prosecuted or anything.”
“No, they just got driven out of town and removed from the situation. So they basically got dropped off home, in other words.”
Weir was treated and released at the hospital. Ali and his two friends were not seriously injured in the attack.
Ali shared the video and his account of the violent attack on his Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
On Friday 28th of August at 23:30pm in Manchester City Centre on Chatham St we were attacked by a gang of four teenagers. This was unprovoked. Myself and two friends were returning home after trying to celebrate pride weekend at Canal St when this gang approached us and began harassing us. One of my friends is trans and she refused to give one of the girls in the gang a hug or take pictures and things escalated. They followed us and Sinead (blonde hair) threw a drink in my face which initiated the physical assault. Following that first attack, the rest of the pack ran at us and began swinging punches and throwing kicks. @itsjackweir saved our lives because he stepped in to defend us. We all tried to protect our trans friend and created a human shield around her. After Jack got involved, the four of them all at once dragged and dropped jack across the floor before kicking him in the head repeatedly. The worst offender was the boy in the gang, his name is Kamran. He was EXTREMELY violent against Jack as you can see in the video. Since this video circulated online, numerous videos of Kamran harassing other victims have since surfaced. I knew we couldn’t fight them alone so i left in a hurry looking for police. Once I returned five minutes later, Jack was now against a wall being assaulted by ALL four at once. It’s a miracle he’s not dead. We now have a crime number and it’s being investigated. I’m expecting to hear from a police officer today. At the crime scene the monsters weren’t arrested just removed from town. We want justice so this doesn’t happen again to someone else. We want reparations and apologies for the trauma and injuries they left us with. Their names are Kamran Saxon, Safia Saxon, Georgia Lleigh and Sinead Thomson. Trans Lives Matter and our queer community needs to protect our Trans people at ALL COSTS. For more updates and details watch my attack highlight. Please share and help us get justice.
The video garnered support in the comments.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) told PinkNews four people were arrested on suspicion of breaching the peace and an investigation is underway. GMP didn’t verify if the four individuals identified by Ali in his Instagram post were the ones arrested or when the arrests occurred.
Inspector Jonathan Shilvock, of GMP’s city off Manchester district stated:
“We treat reports of this kind with the utmost seriousness and do not tolerate hateful behaviour towards any of our communities.”
“I would like to reassure members of the public that our investigation is ongoing and we are committed to ensuring anyone who committed a criminal offence faces justice.”
“Greater Manchester Police has an active Pride network and works closely with members of the LGBT+ community to ensure they are treated fairly and equally.”
“Victims are encouraged to report crimes via the police, Crimestoppers (anonymously) or the LGBT Foundation, who can offer specialist support.”
Adam Ali—who is British Arab—believes the immediate response to the attack would have been different if the assailants were people of color.
“I’m thinking had those people been from a different demographic, maybe Black men… that would have been a completely different ballgame.”
“No one is taking it seriously. No one is choosing to tell our story, or to highlight that Manchester is not safe for queer people in particular.”
“This is a frequent occurrence in our lives, and it seems to be like people will only report the story if it’s a specific type of person.”
“No one seems to be interested in any other parts of the community.”
“On Canal Street in general, anyone you ask will tell you how White-washed it is there, there doesn’t seem to be a place for [POC]. We don’t even have any significant Black drag queens in Manchester.”
“The irony is that it was Manchester Pride weekend, how the hell do you expect to celebrate Pride and celebrate this culture, this city we live in, when it’s literally not safe for us to walk on the streets.”
“Like, what are we actually celebrating?”