A group of about twenty people besieged a COC building in Eindhoven on Saturday night, says the LGBTi+ interest group. The attackers pulled a rainbow flag off the facade and tried to set it on fire. When a COC* volunteer intervened, he was beaten. The interest group has had enough and hopes that the soccer world will take stricter action against unacceptable behaviour, such as anti-gay chants. “As long as you allow that, you normalise such behaviour outside the stadium as well”, COC Eindhoven chairperson Benjamin Ector believes.
Initially, ANP reported that the attackers were PSV supporters. But according to Ector, that is not known. “We do not know, which is why our press release does not say which supporters were involved. We knew it was soccer supporters going to a PSV match, because they themselves used the word PSV. But whether they were Excelsior supporters or PSV supporters, we don’t know.”
Attack before the PSV match
The incident happened around seven o’clock in the evening, an hour before PSV’s match started. At that time, there was a youth meeting in the premises of the COC on Prins Hendrikstraat for young people of up to eighteen years old.
Between ten and fifteen minors, according to Ector, saw how the group walked intimidatingly past the building, pulled off the flag and beat it around. They also shouted insults. When a volunteer spoke to the group, he received a blow to the head. According to the chairperson, the incident did not last long. “They were walking down the street, it didn’t seem like a deliberate action. But as soon as they saw the rainbow flag, they pulled it off.”
Two kinds of damage
The damage to the building was not too bad in the end, according to Ector. The flagpole holder was broken and the flag is gone. The volunteer who was hit is doing well, according to him, under the circumstances. “The blow wasn’t too bad, it seems he didn’t suffer any permanent damage,” he says.
Although damage to materials was limited and the volunteer is likely to recover soon, there is more findamental damage. The youngsters who witnessed it had a thorough scare. “What started as a pleasant evening out turned into a nightmare for them”. This why the COC reported the incident to the police and the incident was also reported to anti-racism agency RADAR. Meanwhile, contact has been made with the municipality. A spokesman for the police could not confirm the story. Nor was the spokesperson for the municipality aware of it on Sunday.
COC Eindhoven has invited the Eindhoven municipality, the KNVB and PSV to a discussion about safety around matches and to put an end to anti-gay chants in the stadiums.
Someone should draw the line
“The anti-gay chants could also be heard again last week in Spakenburg. We want perpetrators to be dealt with firmly. As long as anti-gay chants are allowed, you normalise such behaviour even outside the stadium. Someone has to say: here is the red line. Someone has to take that first step,” Ector said.
Things also went wrong with soccer supporters in Eindhoven on Friday. Forty supporters of PEC Zwolle pelted the police with stones and street furniture after the away match against FC Eindhoven. They also assaulted youngsters who were playing soccer on a nearby field hockey field. At Helmond Sport that same evening, a match was stopped after fireworks were thrown onto the soccer field.
*Cultuur en Ontspanningcentrum (Culture and Recreation Centre)
Translated by: Anitha Sevugan