Pride parades are supposed to be an occasion for celebration and activism, bringing together a community that is still fighting for true equality.

However, at this year’s Miami Beach Pride parade, the ugly side of society’s homophobia reared its head after a gay couple holding hands were brutally attacked by four men.

Security cameras caught the moment the physical attack took place on Sunday evening at 7:30pm, and couple Rene Chalarca and Dmitry Logunov were left fearing for their safety.

One of the attacker first threw an anti-gay slur at the couple in Spanish, before he and three other started repeatedly punching the victims.

Rene and Dmitry managed to run to safety, but were pursued by the attackers on the streets of Miami.

Police are now investigating the incident, and have called on the public to get in touch with any information about the four male attackers.

They are also considering it being a hate crime, due to the homophobic nature of the incident.

“Yes, it was a hate crime,” Rene told NBC 6 News. “We probably provoked them because we were walking together, holding hands. It was gay pride, South Beach was full of gay people.”

A witness who saw the attack and tried to stop it, Helmut Muller Estrada, added: “They almost killed this guy, literally.”

Helmut also sustained injuries after trying to protect the couple, including a cut on the back of his head which required four stitches.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight,” Helmut said, “we all should respect each other.”