Some 2,000 march down Amsterdam streets after spate of anti-LGBT violence
About 2 thousand people participated in a march against anti-LGBT violence through Amsterdam on Wednesday evening. The participants marched hand-in-hand from Dam Square to the Gay Monument at Westermarkt, ANP reports.
The demonstration was triggered by a gay couple being beaten up in Arnhem over the weekend. They were walking home from a party around 4:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. When they reached the Mandela Bridge a group of young people attacked them. Both were injured, one lost a few teeth. According to the victims, they were attacked because they were holding hands. Five boys aged 14 and 16 years and a 20-year-old man were arrested. One of the suspects now claims that the couple started the fight. The couple denies this.
Last year the police received 600 reports linked to sexual orientation, according to NU.nl. Most of these reports involved gay men being scolded or insulted and eggs being thrown against their windows. 180 reports involved physical violence or the threat of physical violence.
A number of Dutch celebrities took part in the march, including Henny Huisman, Frits Barend and leader of the Amsterdam LGBT police team Ellie Lust. Musician Douwe Bob was also there. "With this you can let the rest of the Netherlands know what we think about this. I find it very nice to be able to be here and to march along. We have one message we want to convey and that is love." he said to AT5
"It's been a long time since me and my husband walked hand in hand on the street", one participant said to the Amsterdam broadcaster. "I do not dare. You still get looks and people who spit. That's really not nice."
"It's not like in the 90's anymore, it's going in the other direction again", another participant said to the broadcaster. "You don't feel safe on the street at night. Then I don't walk hand in hand unfortunately."
"The freedom to love who you want", a female participant said. "That is the summary of freedom. We as Dutch stand for freedom and will not let ourselves be oppressed."
Amsterdam marcheert # handinhand pic.twitter.com/hjqcES3SiV