Following a brutal attack this weekend on a gay couple, two male lawmakers showed up to a government meeting holding hands yesterday.
Jasper Vernes-Sewratan and his husband Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes were attacked Saturday night in the small Dutch town of Arnhem while walking home from a date and holding hands. They say that the attackers – a group of six to eight teenage boys – shouted anti-gay invective at them. Both suffered injuries and Ronnie had several teeth knocked out when, according to Jasper’s account, one of the assailants used bolt cutters to beat Ronnie in the face.
In response to the attack, journalist Barbara Berend called for men to hold hands in public to show solidarity with the victims. The hashtag #allemannenhandinhand, which means “all men holding hands,” was trending on Twitter in the Netherlands.
Two members of the leftwing D66 party – Alexander Pechtold and Wouter Koolmees – responded to the call before a meeting to discuss the formation of a new government.
“We think it is quite normal in the Netherlands to express who you are,” Pechtold told DutchNews.nl.
The Deputy Prime Minister also posted a picture on Twitter holding hands with a man.
— Lodewijk Asscher (@LodewijkA) April 3, 2017
Men working for the Netherlands’ UN office also posted a picture of them holding hands.
— Lise Gregoire (@LiseGvH) April 3, 2017
A couple of police officers also got involved.
And a professional soccer team.
Here some radio DJs.
#handinhand. ? Omdat het kán. Omdat het belachelijk is dat mannen/vrouwen aan worden gevallen omdat ze op straat laten zien gek op elkaar te zijn. Hand in hand met iemand van je eigen geslacht. Doe je mee? Maak een foto en deel 'm met de hashtag #handinhand. ?❤ (credits voor het idee naar @barbarabarend)
Here are hand-holding doctors.
Police arrested two people, a 14-year-old and a 20-year-old, in connection with the attack. Yesterday, four more young people voluntarily turned themselves in to police.
The lawyer of one of the boys, Gerald Roethof, said that the attackers are all Moroccan and that they deny that they started the fight. He said that the gay couple behaved aggressively towards the teens, that their sexual orientation was irrelevant in the attack, and that a bolt cutter wasn’t used.
Roethof said that one of the assailants is planning on filing a formal complaint against the gay couple.