The Netherlands is a country known for it’s liberalism. Or at least that’s how the theory goes. In reality it’s sort of true, but like everywhere else it’s not free from discrimination and abuse.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, a gay couple were holding hands while walking home in the Dutch city of Arnhem when they were brutally attacked. Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes was repeatedly kicked in the face and lost four teeth, while also suffering a severed lip.
His partner Jasper Vernes-Sewratan was also badly beaten and suffered injuries to his ribs and face. The attacks screamed homophobic abuse before launching the attack that left the two men hospitalised.
Following the unprovoked attack, Dutch politicians have been holding hands in a show of solidarity to the LGBT community. Alexander Pechtold, leader of the liberal democratic party D66 and fellow party member Wouter Koolmees posted a picture of them holding hands.
— Alexander Pechtold (@APechtold) April 3, 2017
And they weren’t alone.
Male colleagues of The Netherlands United Nations posted a similar picture on the streets of New York.
Former Dutch footballer Pierre van Hooijdonk, who scored a remarkable 335 goals during a stellar professional career, threw his weight behind the movement.
— Pierre van Hooijdonk (@pierrevh17) April 3, 2017
The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalise same sex marriage in 2001. The country was founded on liberal principals and they remain a key part of Dutch society.
Unfortunately violent attacks of this nature do still happen occasionally, which is why today’s show of defiance is so necessary. Well done to everyone involved.