Now Reading
35 gay activists attacked in Zimbabwe

35 gay activists attacked in Zimbabwe

Thirty-five members of an LGBTI group Friday (19 December) were injured in an attack on a party in Zimbabwe.

A dozen unidentified men Friday (19 December) crashed an end-of-year party thrown by the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) at a private venue in the capital Harare.

All LGBTI events in Zimbabwe are held in private because homosexuality is criminalized in the south African country.

‘Three vehicles forced their way into the venue of the party demanding to join the event,’ the group said in a statement.

‘One of the occupants of the vehicles produced a pistol and threatened the GALZ security team that was manning the gate for denying them access to the event.

‘The unidentified men numbering between 12 and 15 entered the venue and started beating people using logs, iron bars, empty beer bottles and clenched fists. The men also demanded cash and gadgets from the members present in the hall whilst attacking them.’

An estimated 35 members suffered injuries in the attack.

A similar incident occurred in June 2013 when five unknown men wielding hammers violently forced entry into GALZ offices. 

The group said President Robert Mugabe’s anti-gay rhetoric had created a climate and culture of impunity and lawlessness, where LGBTI people are hunted down in their communities, vicinities, and homes.

GALZ called for the police to act swiftly by arresting the men ‘that have led a de facto coup of the country’s public spaces rendering them inaccessible’ and protect all citizens regardless of gender and/or sexual orientation.

Partner organization the International HIV/AIDS Alliance expressed ‘extreme concern’ over the attack.

Gavin Reid, the alliance’s regional advisor on men’s sexual health and rights for East and Southern Africa said: ‘The International HIV/AIDS Alliance calls upon the Zimbabwean police to investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

‘It’s the duty of the Zimbabwean government to protect and promote the rights of all its citizens and to ensure that all Zimbabweans are able to enjoy their full constitutional rights including the right to life, to personal security, to freedom of assembly and association, and to freedom from torture.’