Amsterdam mayor concerned at rise in anti-LGBT violence

"Love is for all" written outside a Lidl store in Amsterdam where a gay couple was verbally attacked on 18 April 2020
"Love is for all" written outside a Lidl store in Amsterdam where a gay couple was verbally attacked on 18 April 2020NL TimesNL Times

Amsterdam is set to assess the state of tolerance towards minority groups in Amsterdam following a spate of allegedly homophobic threats and violence in the city, Mayor Femke Halsema said on Thursday.

"There is a street culture in Amsterdam that is intolerant and intimidating for many minority groups. We need to initiate conversations so that the standard is clear: in Amsterdam you are accepted and you belong. People must be able to be individuals here," said Halsema, speaking at a debate with the city council on the matter.

The mayor also expressed support for the position of police chief Frank Paauw, who said that homophobic incidents will have priority with the police and the Public Prosecution Service.

"This is intolerance that does not belong in a city like Amsterdam, and that is not an open door," said Paauw.

The comments come after two incidents of gay bashing took place in Amsterdam in recent weeks. The first, which involved a gay couple being harassed on Easter in Amsterdam Oost for walking hand-in-hand to the supermarket, resulted in three suspects being arrested, the most recent of which took place last week.

The second incident involved a gay couple being attacked with sharp glass in Amsterdam Oost on May 21, and led to the arrest of three teenagers.

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