Rainbow flags raised in the Netherlands after violent incidents against LGBTQI+ community
Throughout the Netherlands, the rainbow flag will be raised on Saturday in response to last week's violence against the LGBTQI+ community. This is the case in the four big cities but also in many other places like Arnhem, Haarlem, Groningen, Vlissingen, Wageningen and Roermond. In Deventer, the Wilhelmina Bridge will also be illuminated in rainbow colors in the evening.
The rainbow flag of the COC Eindhoven and Region was stolen last Saturday by a group of 20 hooligans, therefore the advocacy group will hang a new flag at noon on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. In an open letter, 20 regional COC associations as well as COC Nederland called on people to do the same and also hang a rainbow flag or another flag of the LGBTQI+ community on Saturday.
Hijs jij morgen ook de regenboogvlag als protest tegen geweld? De Arnhemse burgemeester Marcouch doet dat met COC Midden-Gelderland en andere queer organisaties en Deventer zet ‘s avonds de Wilhelminabrug over de IJssel in regenboogkleuren!— COC Nederland (@COCNederland) April 14, 2023
Lees meer op: https://t.co/sGPhxeP2RI pic.twitter.com/1d3CcU8aH8
In addition to the removal of the flag, last Saturday a group of LGBTQI+ youths was insulted and a volunteer was beaten in front of the COC building in Eindhoven. On the same night, employees of a Drag show bar and a LGBTQI+ café in Groningen were attacked, and homophobic remarks were made during the PSV-Spakenburg football match on April 4, as well as at other recent football matches, without any intervention.
With the action, the initiators want to "encourage the LGBTQI+ youth" and "show that the Netherlands does not accept violence against the rainbow community". The interest group for LGBTQI+ people called on people to share a photo of a rainbow flag on social media with the hashtag #SamenSterk.
"Love is stronger. We support the LGBTIQ+ community, COC Eindhoven and the young people in Eindhoven", the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science tweeted, with a photo of the raised rainbow flag.
Liefde is sterker. Wij steunen de LHBTIQ+ gemeenschap, @COCEindhoven en de jongeren in Eindhoven. En blijven werken aan een Nederland waar mensen kunnen zijn wie ze willen zijn. #SamenSterk pic.twitter.com/9tJtr7Jc0S— Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap (@MinOCW) April 15, 2023
"Deventer is the city of love and freedom", said GroenLinks councilor in Deventer Jarno van Straaten about hanging out the rainbow flag in the city.
"In the event of exclusion and violence, you must always stand up and speak out. Amersfoort is a city where everyone can and may be themselves and if that is endangered, we will speak out. That is why we, as a college and city council, are joining this action, young and old must see and know that violence and exclusion is never the right way," writes mayor of Amersfoort Lucas Bolsius.
According to COC Netherlands, a total of almost 70 municipalities and provinces have joined the call, and many other parties such as companies, organizations and many individuals will also participate.
Reporting by ANP