PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Two men, assumed to be gay, were beaten and killed on Friday during an anti-gay protest in Haiti led by religious organizations.
According to one Haitian newspaper, some protestors, who shouted anti-gay marriage slogans and homophobic slurs, were also armed with knives, sticks, blocks and other objects, and attacked several people they accused of being gay.
The two unidentified men were said to have been beaten to death around 1 p.m. at the Iron Market on Jean Jacques Dessalines Boulevard in Port-Au-Prince.
According to The Sentinel, a local newspaper, their bodies were still lying on the ground around 4 p.m., when it received the information.
It is not clear if officers of the Police Nationale d’Haiti were monitoring the protests, but sources said the police arrived on the scene to control the situation but that the violence had already taken place.
Various faith groups brought protestors together from Protestanst to Muslims, threatening to burn down parliament if lawmakers legalized a planned proposal by a Haitian gay rights group to allow same-sex marriage.
In one interview caught on camera, protestors responded to a question about what they would do if gay people asked for equal rights, stating: “We’ll kill them, we’ll destroy them because we don’t need that in our country.”
“We don’t want the question of gay people/homosexuals we want a man and a woman. Gay people will curse our country and we already have curses,” the protestor said.
Haiti’s gay and lesbian community is small and has long kept a low-profile because of a strong social stigma that sparks fears of physical violence and loss of employment. Gay rights groups in Haiti say that members of the country’s LGBT community often don’t report rights violations to authorities out of fear of reprisal.