Amsterdam's gay parade on water adds "hetero boat"

AMSTERDAM, July 27 Fri Jul 27, 2007 7:40am EDT

AMSTERDAM, July 27 (Reuters Life!) - Amsterdam's gay boat parade, which each year attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators, will be joined by a boat of heterosexual people this year in a protest against rising intolerance in the Netherlands.

The organizer of the "hetero boat", Coos Peterse, said on Friday it's inclusion was a reaction to a growing number of attacks against homosexuals in the Netherlands.

Dutch media reported this month that a kissing lesbian couple was attacked in Nijmegen and had to be treated in hospital. In Amsterdam, two gay men were abused and one was seriously injured.

"What always bothered me is that the public reaction wasn't that strong. I would expect a much stronger outcry," Peterse, 25, said.

"Since I wasn't hearing it, I thought maybe it was a good idea to make a statement, to celebrate with them that you're free in Holland to live to your own preference."

The "hetero boat", an old navy tender, will hold about 30 people, Peterse said.

Amsterdam's gay pride is celebrated on August 3 to August 5. Hundreds of thousands of people line the city's canals every year to see the boat parade, whose participants either wear flamboyant outfits or not much at all. The celebration then continues at a number of street parties across the city.

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