Ugandan Pride Parade Cancelled After Police Raid


Uganda Pride Parade 2012

Organisers of a Ugandan pride parade scheduled for August 6 decided to cancel the event, after a separate pride festival event was raided by police.

Last Thursday night, police raided the Mr. and Miss Pride pageant, assaulting attendees and arresting more than a dozen Ugandan LGBTI activists and detaining them for several hours.

The authorities claimed the event was held without proper authorisation, a claim the organisers strongly deny.

“There’s no way we would hold an event without a clearance,” Pepe Onziema from Sexual Minorities Uganda told BuzzFeed.

“They don’t care as long as the word homosexuality is mentioned. As soon as that is mentioned, everything else ceases and [police feel they] have to act.”

Buzzfeed and Agence France Presse reported the decision to cancel the pride parade was made after Ugandan human rights lawyer Nick Opiyo met with the country’s Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo to discuss the raid.

“We decided to suspend [the parade] because of the risks to personal safety,” Mr Opiyo told Buzzfeed.

“The minister threatened to mobilize a mob and a large police group to beat up anyone who shows up for pride tomorrow.

“We will engage the government next week with a view of holding the pride parade at another date soon.”

Ugandan LGBTI rights activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera tweeted: “It is a with a bleeding heart sad news: @Prideuganda2016 postponed as Minister vows to arrest anyone who takes part and equates us to terrorists.”

The parade was to be held on private property in Munyonyo, outside the country’s capital Kampala.

Uganda has held a pride parade annually since 2012, but homosexuality is still illegal in the country and Human Rights Watch says LGBTI Ugandans routinely face violence, discrimination, bigotry, blackmail and extortion.