This couple held hands in public, and the reaction made them proud of their country

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A Portuguese gay couple have shown the surprising reaction to them holding hands in public.

The recent video trend started when two Russian men decided to film people’s reaction to them holding hands on the street – receiving homophobic abuse and threats from passers-by.

The stunt went awry when it was repeated in Ukraine, with a far-right mob pepper-spraying the couple before violently attacking them.

The experiment was also repeated in Jerusalem, showing up deep-seated homophobia in a country usually seen as liberal on LGBT issues.

However, when two video-makers carried out the experiment in Portugal’s capital of Lisbon this week, they were shocked to find the reaction was overwhelmingly positive.

The pair, Lorenzo and Pedro, said: “The result [in Moscow and Kiev] was primitive, sad and disgusting. It was like they were still living in 1920.

“Our idea was to show them how people should behave in society when they see a same-sex couple holding hands, in our own capital, Lisbon.

“We went to Libson for three days to film reactions. We went to many areas of the city to get different types of reactions, but what we got is very different to many other of the [experiments].

“The final result was very positive. There was no hate, threats, punches – not even a single verbal abuser. We got plenty of people looking at us – but these were not negative stares, they were just looks of surprise or curiosity.

“Maybe they were just looking at us because I’m 6 foot 5 and Pedro is 5 foot 7, which is quite a big difference.

“To be honest, we don’t actually walk around a lot holding hands in public. But after doing it so many times while filming this video, we’ve changed our minds about that.

“We felt respected and free… we felt what every straight or gay couple should feel. Comfortable. We are so proud of our city.”

Portugal is one of the most progressive countries in Europe on LGBT rights, introducing same-sex marriage back in 2010.