Dutch men of all political persuasions and sexual orientation and are sharing images holding hands on social media via the hashtags #handinhand and #allemannenhandinhand.

The movement encompasses politicians, celebrities, athletes, and civic activists and is gradually spreading beyond the Dutch border in a symbolic protest against homophobia, from Italy to New York and from London to Canberra.

It all started after a married couple of gay men were attacked on Sunday. Jasper Vernes-Sewratan, 35, and Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes, 31, were walking on Sunday evening in Arnhem, the Netherlands, hand in hand.

They were attacked, as it often happens with homophobic crime, by a group of six to eight young men. One of the victims lost four teeth and was left with a split lip.

Four teenage boys surrendered to the police. Another two were arrested. They were aged 14 to 16, while the eldest man arrested was 20 years old.

MPs from across the political spectrum protested by holding hands and were later joined by other celebrities. The leader of the liberal D66 party, Alexander Pechtold, held hands with his party colleague Wouter Koolmees. Labour leader Lodewijk Asscher held hands with the President of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem.