Uganda, a country known for its cruel treatment of its LGBTQ citizens, is living up to its reputation, as organizers have revealed that hostility from the authorities forced them to cancel 2017 Pride events. This announcement comes one year after 2016 Pride events were disrupted by the police who raided a Mr. And Mrs. Pride pageant, allegedly assaulting bystanders and arresting at least 16 people.
Now the Kuchu Times, an online news platform for Africa’s LGBTI community, reports that organizers were initially not going to allow past events keep them from carrying out Pride festivities, but a rise in hostility from authorities forced them to reconsider.
“Sadly, even all the courage and determination that we carry in our hearts is not enough to put the lives of so many innocent people at risk,” the statement read.
In the past few months, Simon Lokodo, the State Minister of Ethics and Integrity, reaffirmed his commitment to arresting the LGBTQ community, and even threatened to physically harm a prominent LGBTQ leader. Also on Wednesday, Pride organizers discovered that police had converged on several Pride venues.
“It is clear that we will not be allowed to exercise our freedom of association but now, more than ever, we are ready to take the existing laws and policies head on,” the statement read. “We are not canceling Pride because of your homophobia and disrespect for our rights, this is a decision that has been taken to protect ourselves. Otherwise how else will we fight your oppression if you kill us or imprison us for no crime?”
The statement continues, “It should be clear to all our key partners and the rest of the world that the struggle for equality in Uganda is far from over. In fact, it has just begun and we will not stop until every sexual and gender minority is accorded their rights as a human being.”