Uganda’s annual pride celebration slated for this weekend has been abruptly called off by organizers following threats from a government minister.
Advocates say Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo threatened to mobilize a mob to disrupt the pride march that was scheduled for Saturday. Pride gatherings in previous years had been held without incident.
A brutal police raid on a pride event on Thursday saw the arrest of scores of participants and attendees at the club Venom in the capital, Kampala. Several well known activists, including Frank Mugisha and Pepe Onziema, were arrested. They were all eventually released.
The raid was carried out shortly after a tribute to the 49 victims of the recent deadly rampage in Orlando. HRC and other partners sponsored Uganda Pride’s opening reception. HRC is monitoring the situation closely and working with partners in Uganda to help in any way that we can.
“It is deeply disturbing that Uganda’s Pride celebration had to be canceled after threats from public officials,” said Ty Cobb, Director, HRC Global. ”We stand in solidarity with the Ugandan LGBTQ community as they continue their work to make Uganda a country that is welcoming to all.”
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, in office since 1986, signed the country’s infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill in February 2014. Though the Constitutional Court subsequently invalidated it in August that year, the law created a violent backlash against the LGBTQ community that persists to this day.
Read more about LGBTQ rights in Uganda here.