“Over the weekend a number of separate violent incidents occurred in the Surry Hills/Redfern area, two directed at gay men,” NSW Police Force Media Unit said in a statement.
“A young man is in serious condition following an assault by a group of young men and women early Sunday morning.
“Anyone who saw or heard anything relating to this incident should come forward to police with information that can assist in identifying these offenders.
“Another incident in Surry Hills on Saturday morning involved two people of interest and two male victims.
“Surry Hills police are pursuing lines of enquiry to identify the two male offenders.”
Superintendent Tony Crandell, Commander at Surry Hills Local Area Command and Corporate Sponsor for Sexuality and Gender Diversity for the NSW Police Force, said every effort was being made in identifying all the offenders.
But he acknowledged it was nevertheless unusual to get reports of two anti-gay bias-related incidents occurring over one weekend. That Mardi Gras is just around the corner, which will see more people coming into the city, further heightens concern.
“Available evidence and information from the LGBTI communities suggest that Mardi Gras season can be a higher risk period for anti-gay assaults,” Crandell said.
“There is much more visibility on the streets, rainbow flags flying and an increase in community members going out at night to celebrate Mardi Gras festival activities.
“Unfortunately, this can also be a draw card for those who seek to abuse LGBTI people.
“I want to assure all those residents and visitors to the Surry Hills area that police are out and about to protect you from anti-social and violent behaviours.
“We will be running high visibility GLLO (Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer) operations in support of Mardi Gras and those who are visiting Surry Hills to participate in Mardi Gras events.”
He reiterated the importance of being aware of your surroundings and urged people to exercise caution when travelling to and from events.
“It is important to remain aware of your safety and keep an eye out for your friends.
“Try not to travel or walk alone, stick to well lit areas if you can and please contact the police immediately if you encounter abuse or violence.”
The following safety tips has been issued by NSW Police for people when they are out walking:
• Stick to major routes and roads and don’t take short cuts;
• Use footpaths that are well lit and not closed in by bushes or obstacles;
• Stay in groups of people;
• Change direction if you think you are being followed and seek a safe place.
Police are urging anyone with information in relation to these incidents to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au