An elderly immigrant was selling food at an LGBTQ event when he was confronted by a woman about an “offensive” item on the vendor cart. When he refused to remove it, a mob attacked him, beating the elderly man bloody, and it was captured on video.
When 65-year-old Nader Hassaneen agreed to help his son’s friend manage his food cart during a Pride event in Washington Square Park in New York City, he had no idea just how dangerous it could get. The Egyptian immigrant and retired street vendor soon encountered anything but tolerance and love.
According to the New York Post, Hassaneen was working the food cart when a woman confronted him and his son’s friend about something she found offensive. It was then that the man became the target of the crowd’s ire.
Hassaneen, who lives with a heart condition, says the assault occurred when a woman yanked down an American flag from the cart, demanding that it be replaced with a Pride flag. Fellow vendor Abdo Mansour corroborated the account. When the elderly man refused, the woman attacked him, delivering several blows to his head and face.
“They said, ‘Take that f—ing flag down. Why don’t you put up my flag?’” Mansour said. “And they broke my American flag.”
“I was videotaping it and telling her she shouldn’t do that,” Hassaneen said from his home in Brooklyn. “My friend asked her, ‘Why did you do that?’”
Hassaneen’s daughter, Soha Ahmed, says her father was left bloodied by the woman, but the attack didn’t end there. He claims that a member of the crowd snatched some hot sauce off the cart and threw it into his eyes, leaving him even more vulnerable to the violent mob. The crowd seized the opportunity to attack the helpless immigrant, raining down blows on the defenseless man.
“My eyes were burning,” Hassaneen told The Post in Arabic, while his daughter translated. “A lot of people were hurting me and pushing me around. They punched in the back of the head. I didn’t know I was bleeding. I have a broken nose. They say I might need surgery. When I saw the blood in my cap and I was bleeding from my nose, I thought I was going to bleed to death.”
Hassaneen also expressed his confusion and anger over the police response. He says there were dozens of officers just feet away, but none of them intervened to save him.
“I felt safe because the cops were around. There were about 30 or 40 cops near the arch,” Hassaneen said, “but I was scared when they came at me. There were a lot of people coming at me at the same time.”
Hassaneen was accused of saying a “gay slur,” which is often the go-to excuse used to justify similarly vicious attacks. Hassaneen denies the accusation, and such a word cannot be heard in the video. In fact, he only speaks enough broken English to work on the food cart. Even if it were true, there is no word offensive enough to warrant such violence.
“I would never do that. I don’t have a problem with them,” Hassaneen said. “I know it was their parade. It was their day. They came out to have fun and enjoy themselves.”
Video footage shows rainbow-clad attendees and other revelers attacking and throwing things at the three vendors. After assaulting the men, the crowd apparently looted the cart, all directly in front of dozens of police officers. Hassaneen’s daughter took to social media to explain the situation and express her frustration over the incident.
“He is being accused of saying anti-gay comments when he doesn’t even speak English. He speaks enough to work to put food on the table for his family. It is crazy to me that a gathering that is supposed to be about peace and love turns into such violence and, to make it worse, these so-called peaceful people are making up lies about my dad to justify their disgusting behavior ‘violence’,” she wrote.
According to the New York Post, no arrests have been made in connection with the attack on Nader Hassaneen. He was viciously punched in the face by multiple women. Just imagine the reaction on social media if the roles were reversed.