This weekend’s pride celebration in Uganda has been cancelled following a violent police raid and an alleged threat from a government minister.
On Thursday night, police raided a Mr. and Miss Pride pageant held at the Venom nightclub and detained 20 people. According to Buzzfeed, when human rights lawyer Nick Opiyo met with Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo the next day to discuss the raid, Lokodo threatened to bring violent opposition to the pride event.
“We decided to suspend it because of the risks to personal safety,” Opiyo told Buzzfeed. “The minister threatened to mobilize a mob and a large police group to beat up anyone who shows up for pride tomorrow. We will engage the government next week with a view of holding the pride parade at another date soon.”
Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda confirmed he postponement. Despite the daily threats faced by LGBTQ Ugandans, the community has held pride events for the last few years.
“It is deeply disturbing that Uganda’s Pride celebration had to be canceled after threats from public officials,” said Ty Cobb, director of Human Rights Campaign Global. ”We stand in solidarity with the Ugandan LGBTQ community as they continue their work to make Uganda a country that is welcoming to all.”
Human Rights Campaign says it was one of the sponsors of Uganda Pride’s opening reception and is working closely with local organizers.
Thursday night’s raid was carried out following a tribute to the 49 victims of the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.