Gay rights victories in Ethiopia are scarce. But officials announced today (16 April) a rally protesting against homosexuality was cancelled.
Two groups had been planning to hold a large rally against gay people in Addis Ababa on 26 April.
The initiative was planned after Uganda and Nigeria recently passed anti-gay legislation, with a religious group hoping to raise support of toughening up Ethiopia’s anti-homosexuality laws.
‘The country has seen an increase in gay-related activities and this has reached an alarming stage,’ said Dereje Negash, the head of a Christian Association, Woyniye Abune Teklehaimanot.
In the east African country, Ethiopia punishes homosexuality by up to 15 years in prison.
But in a turnaround, the religious group chairman spokesman said the cancellation came after people inside the church asked the government to prevent the rally.
Redwan Hussein, a government spokesman, said the government does not support the homophobic moments that have been building in Ethiopia and across Africa.
He told the AP plans to add gay sex to a list of crimes ineligible for a presidential pardon have been dropped.