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Violence erupts at funeral for slain Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato

Friday, January 28, 2011
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Fistfights and shoving matches erupted during the funeral services for slain gay Rights Activist David Kato on Friday when the pastor conducting the service denounced Kato and other members of the LGBT community.

The service, in Kato’s native village of Mukono, Uganda, came to a halt when the fight broke out, forcing Kato’s friends to bury him themselves.

Via Reuters:

“The world has gone crazy,” the pastor told the congregation through a microphone.

“People are turning away from the scriptures. They should turn back, they should abandon what they are doing. You cannot start admiring a fellow man.”

Gay activists, wearing T-shirts featuring Kato’s face with sleeves colored with the gay pride flag, stormed the pulpit and grabbed the microphone.

“It is ungodly,” the pastor shouted, before being blocked from sight.

An unidentified female activist then began to shout from the pulpit. “Who are you to judge others?” she shouted. “We have not come to fight. You are not the judge of us. As long as he’s gone to God his creator, who are we to judge Kato?”

Local villagers intervened on behalf of the pastor — Father Thomas Musoke — when the fighting erupted; the pastor was taken away to Kato’s father’s house to calm the situation.

After the melee broke-out, the villagers refused to bury Kato, forcing his friends to carry the coffin to the burial site and burying him themselves.

There were an estimated 300 persons in attendance, of which approximately 100 were gay persons from all throughout Uganda.

“I’m very upset,” Julian Pepe, gay rights activist and a friend of Kato’s who attended the funeral, told Reuters, her voice breaking with emotion. “After we had read statements from everybody, including Obama, after all the nice things friends said about David, that this man could stand up and throw dirt at someone who should be resting in peace. It’s just disgusting.”

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