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Dutch men hold hands in solidarity with gay couple

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01:01 - Source: CNN
Men hold hands in solidarity with gay couple
CNN —  

Men all over the world are standing up to homophobia by holding hands.

From New York to London, and from Canberra to Amsterdam, famous figures and ordinary Dutch citizens have been posting images of themselves on social media with the hashtag #allemannenhandinhand (all men, holding hands).

The trend was sparked by reports of a gang attack on a gay couple, Jasper Vernes-Sewratan, 35, and Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes, 31, in Arnhem, a city in the east of the Netherlands, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Alexander Pechtold (L) and Wouter Koolmees of the D66 party arrive for a political meeting, holding hands in solidarity with a gay couple.
LEX VAN LIESHOUT/AFP/Getty Images
Alexander Pechtold (L) and Wouter Koolmees of the D66 party arrive for a political meeting, holding hands in solidarity with a gay couple.

According to a police statement, the men were attacked by a group of young people armed with bolt cutters. Two suspects were taken into custody and four others later reported to the police station in connection with the attack.

Vernes-Sewratan’s Facebook post about the incident, which he describes as a hate crime, has been shared more than 7,500 times and he has received thousands of supportive comments.

The hashtag in support of the couple was inspired by Barbara Barend, founder of a Dutch magazine, who tweeted Sunday, “Can this whole week all men (straight and gay) please just walk hand in hand …”

Politicians, sportsmen, actors, policemen and businessmen have all responded to the call.

Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands Lodewijk Asscher posted this picture of himself holding hands with fellow Labour Party politician Jeroen Dijsselbloem with the hashtag #allemannenhandinhand.

Since then, workers at the Dutch Embassies in London and Canberra and at the United Nations in New York have joined the campaign.

Staff at Amsterdam’s Academic Medical Center posted this Instagram photo…

…while footballers from a club in the city of Nijmegen, just south of Arnhem, shared this image. “NEC turns its back on anti-gay violence,” the post says.

Rotterdam’s police also got involved, as did two religious leaders, David van Veen and Erick Versloot, in Waarder, south of Amsterdam.