News of: Saturday, May 14 2005,

Anti homophobia demonstration after violent attack against gay couple

The attack that happened on April 30 on a gay couple walking hand in hand in the centre of Amsterdam has led to many concerned reactions in the Netherlands and Amsterdam.
On May 17 there is a short ''queer love and peace'' demonstration (a ''flash mob'') at Leidseplein square, from 6.30 pm until 6.45.

On April 30 an American gay couple were attacked by 7 youths, on the Leidseplein square in the centre of Amsterdam, because they were walking hand in hand. One of the men happened to be Chris Crain, the editor-in-chief of Washington Blade, an American gay magazine. He sought publicity by publishing the story on his weblog.

After the incident, several organizations have given concerned reactions. The mayor of Amsterdam (Mr Job Cohen) spoke out against violence and placed the incident in the framework of the general rise in violence against various minorities. The COC (the main Dutch gay/lesbian lobby organization in the Netherlands) also protested against the violence.
In several newspapers, magazines and on various websites, the incident was covered and fierce debates took place.

As the attack was done by boys who (apparently) have a Moroccan background, the issue has become sensitive because the Moroccan minority in the Netherlands and particularly in Amsterdam suffer from a deteriorated reputation.
Gays lately have suffered from violence by ethnic minorities and some have been forced to move from the neighbourhood where they live. Especially after the killing of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Dutch muslim radical of Moroccan origin, the relationship between the gay community and the muslim community has become strained.

Groen Links (a Dutch political party) has proposed to make Chris Crain a guest of honour at the Amsterdam Canal parade, the yearly large canal boat show in the beginning of August.

On May 17 there is a spontaneous demonstration (''a queer love and peace gathering'') at the Leidseplein, 6.30 pm. The organization calls upon everyone to ''come with your boyfriend or girlfriend, and walk hand in hand, kiss, and be as queer as you want to be''.
The action ends 15 minutes later, so it has the character of a ''flash mob'' (a group of people who gather at some location, do something for a short period, and then leave).
May 17 was chosen as this is IDAHO, International Day Against Homophobia.