Two men were arrested on Sunday evening after a man was beaten in a “homophobic” attack in the Stonewall Inn in New York.

The pub is a symbol of the birth of the gay rights movement after patrons staged protests in 1969 against police raids.

According to Associated Press, police say that Matthew Francis, 21, and another man attacked the victim in a bathroom after asking what kind of pub the venue was.

Assistant district attorney Kiran Singh said that when the victim replied that it was a gay bar, Francis used a homophobic slur and told him to get away.

Then, he is said to have demanded money and punched the victim in the head before tackling him to the ground while a co-defendant held the door closed.

The incident took place at around 2am on Sunday morning. The victim was treated in hospital and was later released.

Mr Francis’ lawyer Angel Soto said that the incident had not been motivated by homophobia and that his client had not tried to rob anyone.

“There may have been a fight, but it certainly wasn’t a hate crime,” he said.

One of the owners of the Stonewall Inn, Bill Morgan, told Associated Press: “We at the Stonewall Inn are exceedingly troubled that hate crimes like this can and do still occur in this day and age.

“Obviously the impact of these men’s violent actions is even deeper given that it occurred on the premises of the Stonewall Inn.”

On Friday evening, a group of gay men in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood were confronted by five men after bidding an affectionate farewell to each other.

They were allegedly told to leave the area. Two of the aggressors were said to have thrown punches, while another, Andrew Jackson, 21, was arraigned on hate assault charges after allegedly throwing a metal garbage can at a victim.