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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 7, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 14
Dutch men hold hands in solidarity with beaten Gay couple
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Dutch men hold hands in solidarity with beaten Gay couple

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

In a simple - yet true - act of solidarity, same-sex couples and allies from across the Netherlands held hands this week to protest the beating of two Gay men. The attack is said to have shaken the nation, because the Dutch have long prided themselves on their tolerance.

The beating took place in Arnhem, in one of the world's most welcoming nations for same-sex couples. Arnhem's mayor conducted the world's first legal Gay marriage in 2001.

On Wednesday evening hundreds of people walked hand in hand through the streets of Amsterdam to express solidarity with the victims of the beating, which occurred in the early hours of Sunday.

Dutch police officials said the men told officers they were verbally abused by a group of youths because they were walking hand in hand over a bridge. In the confrontation that followed, both men were injured, and one had his front teeth smashed out.

'I find it really absurd, unbelievable, and this is feeling like we are going backwards,' said Sjag Kozak, an Israeli who married his husband in Amsterdam and has lived in the freewheeling Dutch capital for 21 years. 'So that's why we're here: to make a statement to let people know that we are moving forward and not going backwards.'

A well-known magazine publisher and journalist, Barbara Barend, is credited for organizing the action when she appealed on Twitter: 'Can all men (hetero and homo) please just walk hand in hand this week...'

That sparked the viral hashtag '#allemannenhandinhand' (all men hand in hand), with everybody from the Dutch deputy prime minister and finance minister to sports stars and TV personalities posting pictures of themselves holding hands.

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