Alexander Pechtold and Wouter Koolmees
Dutch leader of the Democrats 66 (D66) party Alexander Pechtold (L) and Financial specialist of D66 party Wouter Koolmees arrive for a meeting in The Hague holding hands. Lex Van Lieshout/AFP

Dutch politicians walked to their parliamentary meetings on 4 April holding hands, sending a powerful message of solidarity after two gay men were brutally attacked in The Netherlands.

The leader of the liberal democratic party D66, Alexander Pechtold, and the Labour Party (PVDA) leader, Lodewijk Asscher, were photographed walking hand in hand with fellow politicians in The Hague. The images have been trending on social media with the hashtag #allemannenhandinhand (#allmenhandinhand).

The gesture was in response to an assault on a gay couple in Arnhem, a city in the east of the Netherlands, that took place over the weekend. Jasper Vernes-Sewratan and Ronnie Sewratan-Verne were attacked by a group of youths in the early hours of Sunday morning for holding hands while walking through the city.

Vernes-Sewratan told Dutch broadcaster NOS: "We don't usually do that, holding hands in public, for the very reason that we don't want to provoke people. But we'd had a nice evening, it was late and we thought we were alone."

"Then suddenly there was a group of six to eight Moroccan youths. Before I knew it I was on the ground fighting with three men on top of me," he said. Sewratan-Verne lost five teeth in the attack.


A post shared by Lodewijk Asscher (@lodewijkasscher) on

LGBT organisation COC called on Dutch Minister Edith Schippers, who is leading the cabinet formation negotiations, to ensure that the new government makes homophobia a "top priority" that requires serious attention.

Dutch delegates at the UN headquarters in New York also showed their support by crossing the street hand-in-hand, while police officers were photographed holding hands in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.