A gay pride parade in the Ugandan capital planned to take place over the weekend was on Friday postponed after a government minister was accused of saying mob attacks on participants would be their own fault.
Lawyer Nicholas Opiyo told reporters that Ugandan State Minister of Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo told him ordinary citizens would be “mobilized to defend the moral values of Uganda” and that “if participants were to be beaten by a mob” they would have “brought it upon themselves.”
The minister added that police would arrest anyone attending the parade, Opiyo said.
Organizers said they had postponed the event — which was held last year — following the apparent threat, reportedly made at a meeting between the organizers’ lawyer and a police representative.
“As the committee, we have agreed that all the remaining events of the pride week be postponed as we await a positive outcome from the already going negotiations,” the organizers said in a statement.
“We will be communicating the new dates as soon as the negotiations are completed,” the statement added.
US Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac voiced her support for the gay community in Uganda after the organizers announced the parade’s delay.
“The [US] Embassy stands with Uganda’s LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex] community and Ugandans of all backgrounds and beliefs to defend the dignity of all citizens,” Malac said on Twitter. “No person should face abuse or discrimination because of who they are.”
The US slapped sanctions on Uganda after it introduced tough anti-gay laws in 2013, which included life imprisonment for homosexuals.
The law was struck down a year later on a technicality, but under a colonial-era penal code homosexual acts remain illegal.
Prominent Ugandan gay rights activist Frank Mugisha slammed the minister’s comments and accused the police of complicity.
“The minister is not entitled to give or withdraw permission to hold a parade,” said Mugisha, who runs local non-governmental organization Sexual Minorities Uganda.
“This is an abuse of power and the police let him do it,” Mugisha said.
On Thursday evening, police raided a club in Kampala that was hosting a “Mr and Miss Pride” beauty pageant.
Twenty people were arrested for attending an “illegal gathering,” but were later released. One person was seriously injured when he jumped from a window to escape from police.
Homophobia is widespread in Uganda and gay people face regular harassment and intimidation.
‘SPIKES’: Rudy Giuliani at a hearing asked about voting data in Pennsylvania, with a witness saying that 570,000 votes they selected were for Biden and 3,200 for Trump US president-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday said that Americans “won’t stand” for attempts to derail the US election outcome, as US President Donald Trump called for results to be overturned. Biden said in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, that Americans “have full and fair and free elections, and then we honor the results.” “The people of this nation and the laws of the land won’t stand for anything else,” he said. However, Trump is challenging the results, with lawsuits under way in several states. “We have to turn the election over,” he told a hearing in Pennsylvania. “This election was rigged.” “All we need is
Hundreds of flights at one of China’s busiest airports were canceled yesterday as Shanghai raced to bring a local COVID-19 outbreak under control. Health officials have tested thousands of staff at Pudong International Airport since a small cluster of COVID-19 cases in the city was linked to several cargo handlers. China — where the virus first emerged late last year — has largely brought the COVID-19 pandemic under control through travel restrictions and lockdowns, but it is now battling a number of domestic outbreaks in different cities. Shanghai has reported seven local infections linked to the airport this month, with most cases found
‘OCEAN OF STORMS’: The Chang’e 5 seeks to collect about 5kg of samples from a previously unvisited area in a massive lava plain, known as Oceanus Procellarum China plans to launch an uncrewed spacecraft to the moon this week to bring back lunar rocks in the first attempt by any nation to retrieve samples from Earth’s natural satellite since the 1970s. The Chang’e 5 probe, named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon, would seek to collect material that could help scientists understand the moon’s origins and formation. The mission would test China’s ability to remotely acquire samples from space, ahead of more complex missions. If successful, the mission will make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples, following the US and the Soviet Union decades
Sudan on Saturday boycotted talks between Nile Valley countries over Ethiopia’s controversial mega-dam, calling on the African Union to play a greater role in pushing forward negotiations that have stalled for years. It was the first time that Sudan refused to attend talks with Ethiopia and its northern neighbor Egypt, which has expressed for years its fears that the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile will dramatically threaten water supplies downstream. Sudanese Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Yasser Abbas said in a statement that the current approach to reaching a tripartite agreement on the filling and operation of Ethiopia’s dam