Five teenage men suspected of attacking a gay couple have been released from custody.
Gay couple Jasper Vernes-Sewratan and Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes were attacked by a group men who saw them holding hands in the eastern city of Arnhem during the early hours of last Sunday morning (April 2).
Ronnie lost four teeth after being beaten with a pair of bolt cutters, while Jasper suffered injuries to his chest, back and legs.
“They are still considered suspects. The magistrate decided to release the boys because he saw no risk of recurrence,” reports NU.nl.
The brutal homophobia attack sparked outrage in The Netherlands, which became the first country in the world to legalise equal marriage back in 2001, and thousands went to march through the streets of Amsterdam in protest.
Both gay and straight men all over the European country also held hands on social media to show support for the gay couple.
The editor of Attitude Holland, Martijn Tulp, praised the #allemannenhandinhand campaign for drawing attention to the incident, but stressed that politicians in The Netherlands need to do more as violence and intolerance against LGBT people increases in the country.
“It’s great to see pictures on social media, not just of politicians or celebrities, but anyone in general, of two men holding hands to show their support for this couple in Arnhem,” he said.
“Unfortunately this wasn’t just an isolated incident; just a day earlier two guys who had just left a gay bar in Eindhoven were also harassed and beaten, though luckily not resulting in any serious injuries.”
He continued: “It’s a bit disappointing to see how only this incident is getting so much attention in the media and even by our Minister for Education, Culture and Science, because this problem is a structural one.
“There are several reports of hate crimes in The Netherlands a year. Many of them don’t get as publicised. Our climate seems to slowly but surely become more and more intolerant and violent towards LGBT [people].”