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COC calls for action against rising tide of homophobic attacks

THE NETHERLANDS. The leading gay rights organisation in the Netherlands has called for the next government to take action against the rising frequency of homophobic attacks.

The COC said the number of recorded violent incidents against gays and lesbians had increased from 400 to 600 in the last six years, but only nine offenders were sentenced for the offence in 2015.

In the latest attack, two gay men were set upon by a group of six to eight youths as they walked hand in hand through the streets of Arnhem. One of the victims lost four teeth and suffered a split lip when he was struck with a bolt cutter.

Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes, 31, told 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.

‘And 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.’

In a letter to Edith Schippers, who is co-ordinating talks to form the next government, COC chairwoman Tanja Ineke said police and prosecution authorities should set targets for dealing with homophobic attacks.

She also called for higher maximum sentences and better information about homosexuality in schools. ‘If you talk about these things you can prevent a lot of unpleasantness,’ she said.

Police in Arnhem have arrested two people aged 14 and 20 in connection with the attack at the weekend and appealed for witnesses. The incident happened at around 4am on Sunday near the Nelson Mandelabrug.

This article appeared first on dutchnews.nl.

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