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Armed police raid ‘gay’ play premiere in Uganda

Armed police raid ‘gay’ play premiere in Uganda

The premiere of a new play in Uganda came to an abrupt end after armed police stormed the theater in an alleged anti-gay raid.

While last night’s (6 November) red carpet show at Kampala’s National Theater featured scenes with men dressed in women’s clothing, there was no explicit use of the word ‘homosexual’ and organizers were not expecting any trouble from authorities.

The group staging the show, the Talented Ugandan Kuchus, does take its name from the word for gay, ‘kuchu’. Although the term is usually used as an insult, many in the African nation’s LGBT community have now reclaimed ownership of the word.

According to Radio Netherlands, there was an announcement during a break informing the audience of human rights activists, artists and foreign diplomats that the police were forcing the play to stop.

Three heavily armed police officers and a man claiming to be a civilian then ordered guests to leave, locking the doors of the theater behind them.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and authorities recently banned a play called The River and The Mountain after only eight performances for ‘implicitly promoting gay acts’.

Ugandan members of parliament passed a resolution earlier this month in support of calls to revive the country’s notorious anti-gay bill.

MP David Bahati, who wrote the bill, proposed the death penalty for cases of ‘aggravated homosexuality’, but now the lawmakers are opting, instead, for life imprisonment.

The 2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill has still to gain parliamentary approval and has met the Ugandan government’s opposition.

Homosexuality is morally unacceptable to 89% of Ugandans, according to a 2010 a survey by The Pew Research Center.