LGBTQ+ activists in Uganda have announced plans to run a Pride event this year after a violent crackdown in 2016 which saw police raids and arrests at the event.
Ahead of the 2016 Pride, government officials warned that they would arrest anyone that took part.
Simon Lokodo, the Minister of State for ‘Ethics & Integrity’, likened LGBTQ+ people to paedophiles in the statement in which he warned people would be apprehended.
He said: “We are aware that there are inducements, including money, being offered to young people to promote the practice.
“We wish to emphasise that whereas the promotion of homosexuality is criminalised under the Penal Code, there is no violence against the LGBT community in Uganda – contrary to some claims made loosely by proponents of this movement.”
Despite emphasising the lack of violence, organisers of the Pride officially cancelled it out of fear of physical harm.
“It is with very heavy hearts and deep-felt sadness that we announce the cancellation of Pride Uganda 2017.
“Following the Police raid and interruption of the Pride parade last year, extra precaution was taken in organising this year’s festival,” the statement read.
Despite the last Pride being “officially” cancelled, many Pride-goers still went to the event but they were broken up by police.
Any hope for a Pride event in 2017 was completely dashed after Lokodo promised “arrest, even violence”.
Living conditions for LGBTQ+ people are reportedly getting slightly better in the country, with activists reporting fewer people being “arrested, put in police cells and tortured”.
Activist Isaac Mugisha, from Uganda, told The Daily Beast that he and other LGBTQ+ activists were now trying to work with straight allies to ensure Pride events could go ahead without being raided.
Photo Credit: Katy Blackwood