Men in the country of Holland have begun to hold hands in an act of LGBTQ protest and solidarity following the brutal beating of a local gay couple.
Jasper Vernes-Sewratan and Ronnie Sewratan-Verne were walking and holding hands in the town of Arnhem when they were targeted by a group in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Vernes-Sewratan spoke to the local media and stated he and his partner usually don’t hold hands in public because they “don’t want to provoke people.”
“But we’d had a nice evening, it was late and we thought we were alone,” he said.
“Before I knew it I was on the ground fighting with three men on top of me,” Vernes-Sewratan said of the incident.
The attack made headlines in the small liberal country prompting Dutch journalist Barbara Berend to call on all men to hold hands to support the LGBTQ cause in the country as well as the targeted couple.
Social media followers are taking pictures of men participating in the campaign, using the hashtag #allemannenhandinhand (#allmenhandinhand).
The leader of the Democrats 66 party in the country, Alexander Pechtold, was one prominent figure to have tweeted a picture of himself holding hands with fellow party member Wouter Koolmees, just as they were beginning to conduct negotiations on the new Dutch government.
“Stop violence against gay people,” tweeted Pechtold.
Labour party representative Ahmed Marcouch also tweeted a picture of himself holding hands with a number of people.
“Hand in hand with gay people and shoulder to shoulder against discrimination as a criminal offence. Together for freedom, equality and brotherhood,” Marcouch tweeted.
One teacher tweeted a photo of her students holding hands because they “would like everyone to be able to walk hand in hand.”
Football club N.E.C. Nijmegen tweeted pictures of players holding hands outside its stadium.
Another football star, retired international player Pierre van Hooijdonk also participated in the Twitter campaign, by posting a picture of himself holding another man’s hand.
Even organizations are backing the campaign with Academic Medical Center and Dutch airline Transavia posting a picture of two doctors, and two pilots, respectively, holding hands.
Radio station Tijd voor MAX Radio tweeted a photo of one of its presenters holding hands with author Gerard Aalders.
Stirring hilarity, Dutch police have even joined in on the protest against the hatred by posting a picture of police officers holding hands on Instagram.
The campaign has even affected Dutch people working overseas. Male staff members working for Netherlands Missions at the UN in New York have been walking hand in hand on the streets of New York City.