Since 2012, Uganda’s LGBT community has held an annual celebration with little incident. But following threats from the country’s minister of ethics, the pride parade slated for today (Aug. 6), has been postponed.
After a meeting to discuss the police raid with Simon Lokodo, Uganda’s minister of ethics, Nick Opiyo, a local lawyer, emerged with a message of threats, rather than any assurances of safety.
“We decided to suspend it because of the risks to personal safety,”Opiyo said. “The minister threatened to mobilize a mob and a large police group to beat up anyone who shows up for pride tomorrow.”
Uganda’s LGBT community has long been a target of the government. In 2014, Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s president, signed a controversial anti-gay law which criminalized same-sex relationships and ordered life imprisonment for offenders. While it was roundly criticized by foreign governments and groups, the law garnered considerable support locally and resulted in a tenfold increase in attacks against LGBT people. Despite being struck out by the Ugandan Supreme Court, the LGBT community has continued to face discrimination.
Beyonce Karungi, a trans activist who was arrested and later released at the pride event on Thursday, says the discrimination against the LGBT community in Uganda is plainly ignored by law enforcement. “When we report incidents of discrimination to the police, they do nothing,” she told Quartz. “They sometimes tell us we deserve it.”
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