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Police investigating two possible hate crimes from San Francisco gay pride weekend

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Police are investigating two physical attacks during San Francisco's gay pride celebration over the weekend as possible hate crimes, an officer said on Thursday.

In the first attack, two women on Saturday evening were ganged up on in the city's South of Market district, said San Francisco Police spokesman Albie Esparza.

Five males between the ages of 16 and 20 yelled homophobic slurs at the women as they kicked, punched and knocked them to the ground, Esparza said.

Later that night, a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a gay rights activist group that dresses up as nuns, and the person's husband were attacked by three men and a woman in the Castro District, the city's center of gay life, Esparza said.

"The words that were directed at them were homophobic in nature," Esparza said. "Their injuries were consistent with being kicked and punched. They had abrasions, cuts and bruises."

Sister Mora Lee D'Klined, president of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in San Francisco, said the member of the organization attacked in the incident is a man but identifies as a woman when in habit and make-up.

Both incidences are being treated as hate crimes, and they appear to involve different groups of attackers and may have been unrelated, Esparza said.

In 2013, 20 hate crime incidents were reported throughout San Francisco and eight of those were based on sexual orientation, police said.

(Reporting by Madeleine Thomas, Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Sandra Maler)

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