A 15-year-old boy who was accused of harassing a gay couple outside an Amsterdam Oost grocery store on Sunday turned himself in to police on Monday evening. He said he does not harbor hatred toward homosexuals and offered to apologize to the men, newspaper AD reports.
This comes after the suspect featured in an interview with local YouTuber Youness Ouaali in which he claimed that he had verbally abused and spat at the couple as a response to them derogating Muslims. The couple responded, saying they made no such remark and that the incident was entirely unprovoked, AT5 reports.
The police are calling on others who were involved or who witnessed the confrontation to come forward with information. “We would like to know who they are and what exactly happened,” a police spokesman told AT5. “Even if you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, you can tell the whole story.”
The footage of the incident, which went viral this week, depicts two men being verbally abused. They had been walking hand-in-hand toward the Lidl store location when a group of boys started verbally harassing the couple, Fabio Viana, one of the victims, wrote on Facebook.
In recent years, there has been in increase in discriminatory behavior against the school-aged LGBTQ community in the Netherlands, with members of this group being more than twice as likely to be bullied, stalked or threatened online than their heterosexual counterparts.
The number of overall criminal discrimination cases rose for the second year running in the Netherlands in 2019, up 16 percent on the previous year.