The LGBTI community in Mauritius is in shock after organizers cancelled the annual Pride March cancelled because of threats of violence from ‘anti-LGBTQ’ protestors.
Mauritius’s leading LGBTI organization, the Collectif Arc-en-Ciel (CAEC), plans the Pride March ever year. 2018 was supposed to be the 13th anniversary of the march.
But at the last minute and despite support from the Mauritian Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth, and Commissioner of Police, organizers decided it was too unsafe to go ahead with the parade.
‘Permissions from the authorities to hold a peaceful demonstration in Port-Louis had been obtained one month before the expected date of the event,’ CAEC told Gay Star News in a statement.
Police told CAEC on the day of the parade (2 June) that they would not be able to protect them from the large number of anti-LGBTI protesters gathering illegally along the parade route.
‘The police also informed the Collectif that some of the protesters in the crowd on Place d’Armes were carrying weapons,’ CAEC said.
Alleged Islamophobia started the protests
Mauritius is a small island nation about 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi) off the south-east coast of Africa. It is a former French and British colony, but boasts a very multicultural and multi-religious populations.
Sodomy and oral sex are illegal in Mauritius and carry a jail term of up to five years. But the Mauritian law protects LGBTI people from discrimination.
The island’s main religions are; Hinduism with about 51.9% of the population identifying as Hindus, Christianity is next (31.4%), followed by Islam (15.3%).
The anti-LGBTI protesters had gathered in the Place d’Armes after it was incorrectly presumed someone in the LGBTI community had shared a photo of sign with an Islamaphobic comment on social media.
Making death threats in the name of Jihad against the LGBT community in #Mauritius and why is the govt silent??
What ever happened to free speech?
50 years of Independence and people’s minds are still not open.#dissapointed #Mauritius #Pride #LoveWins #ilemaurice🇲🇺
— Kev_Official (@Kevzofficial105) June 6, 2018
CAEC very quickly distanced itself from the photo and the comments in the photo.
‘The CAEC also notes that there have been several Islamophobic comments circulating and wishes to completely dissociate itself from them,’ it said
‘The Collectif and all its members unequivocally condemn all expressions that are hurtful to the religious beliefs that constitute an integral part of Mauritian social (life).’
Wife: Mauritius tried to have a Pride parade but hundreds of radical Muslims showed up to protest.
Me: Isn’t it weird that they use the term radical to describe Muslims but not Christians when they protest?
In other news, I got my Pride 2018 shirt and it is fabulous.
— Salidas of the Shire (@LorgianArk) June 6, 2018
‘Police did not intervene’
CAEC argued the anti-LGBTI protesters were breaking the law because they gathered without permission.
‘It is shocking that a group of protesters were able to gather illegally and with apparent impunity, among them armed individuals, in order to deliberately obstruct a group of persons exercising their legal and legitimate freedom of expression,’ it said.
‘Despite the fact that the gathering was illegal, that carrying weapons is not allowed by Mauritian law, that there were clear intentions to physically harm others, that there were weapons found, and that association to a terrorist organization was made evident, the POLICE DID NOT INTERVENE.’
this is a cry for help from the lgbtq+ community of mauritius to the world. we need your help. we need your support.#isupportmauritius #pridemoris #pride #help #prolgbtq #lgbtq #gay #lesbian #gayctivist #prideparade #pride2018 #lovealwayswins
credit: live_peculiar from instagram pic.twitter.com/nCynZ5o7tV
— KawaiiSweetImo (@kawaii_imo) June 5, 2018
CAEC reported that police confirmed some of the protesters were carrying merchandise brandishing the symbol of terrorist organization, ISIS.
The organization said police had ‘powers of detention’ granted by the government in the Prevention of Terrorism Act in 2002, but did nothing to arrest the protesters.
Hundreds of death threats
In the lead up to and days after the planned parade, a number of key figures received multiple death threats.
Pauline Verner, acting Managing Director of CAEC, received 126 death threats via email during and following the day of the March.
One of these threats read: ‘Today was a minute example of our resolve. The filthy French whore is marked for death. WE KNOW YOUR ADDRESS…. just in case there’s any misunderstanding, these are NOT idle threats to frighten you. The foreign French whore who has verbal diarrhea WILL be MUTILATED & KILLED.’
But the anti-LGBTI protesters also targeted a number of other people with death threats.
Journalists, news agencies and even the Attorney General and Prime Minister received violent threats.
‘Mauritius WILL endure pain and suffering in the coming days,’ one of the threats read.
The #Pridemarch #mauritius has unfortunately been affected ..and seriously, we are in 2018 and people should live and let live. LGBT rights are humans rights. I repeat LGBT rights are HUMANS rights #pride #PrideMonth2018#Pride2018 #PrideMonth
— Yeshna Dindoyal (@_Yeshna) June 2, 2018
Despite the march’s cancellation, Mauritians still celebrated a Pride event over the weekend.