Dutch couple Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes and Jasper Vernes-Sewratan don’t usually hold hands.
But the pair had enjoyed a pleasant evening in the city of Arnhem on Sunday, so they figured why not, they told Dutch-language broadcaster Omroep Gelderland.
The couple soon found themselves attacked by a group of six to eight teens.
One of the men lost teeth, the other had his lip split after an attacker set upon him with a bolt cutter, the broadcaster said.
The incident triggered angry responses throughout The Netherlands, a country that became the world’s first to introduce same-sex marriage in 2001.
It also prompted a challenge from journalist Barbara Berend, who called on men (in Dutch) to hold hands in a show of solidarity.
Two politicians took her up on the challenge. And then many, many more men did, too.
Alexander Pechtold and Wouter Koolmees of the Dutch Democrats D66 party were seen doing just that as they walked into a meeting about forming the country’s next government on Monday.
Pechtold, the party’s leader, tweeted a response to Berend in which he called for an end to violence against gay people.
Many others followed, posting messages of solidarity on social media under the hashtag #allemannenhandinhand, which means “all men hand in hand.”
They included the Dutch Embassy in London.
Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher.
Members of the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations.
And the N.E.C. Nijmegen football club, which plays in the Netherlands’ highest league.
Ronnie, one of the victims, tweeted his thanks to a number of companies that showed their support after the attack.
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