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Uganda Pride canceled amidst threats of arrest, physical harm, and police intervention

Uganda Pride canceled amidst threats of arrest, physical harm, and police intervention

Uganda Pride canceled for fear of safety

The Kuchu Times released a statement today announcing the cancellation of Pride Uganda 2017.

‘It is with very heavy hearts and deep-felt sadness that we announce the cancellation of Pride Uganda 2017,’ the statement begins. ‘Following the Police raid and interruption of the Pride parade last year, extra precaution was taken in organising this year’s festival.’

Last year, police raided a pride event in the country and then stopped a pride march from happening.

Acknowledging the upsetting events of 2016, the LGBTI community of Uganda was determined to still hold pride this year.

‘The community realized the need for us to stand together, hold one another’s hands, celebrate our diversity,’ they implored. ‘But most importantly acknowledge and pat our selves on the back for the hard work we put into creating visibility and influencing policy change, all year round.’

Unfortunately, despite this intention, the organizers decided they could not put innocent people at risk. Tuesday morning, police deployed to the venue of the event’s opening gala.

Threats and misconceptions in Uganda

According to the statement, the State Minister of Ethics & Integrity Simon Lokodo threatened the community with arrest and physical harm.

‘He has categorically stated, time and again that gender and sexual minorities have no rights in Uganda and today had all the venues of the planned Pride events surrounded by state militia,’ they explained. ‘He has abused our very existence by stripping us of even the very basic of our rights, he refuses to acknowledge our humanity or right of association, speech, movement as well as freedom from degrading treatment.’

They also made clear in their statement that pride is neither about recruitment or political influence.

The statement ends by thanking those who show courage. The decision was made to protect themselves with a conviction to keep fighting oppression.

‘Pride is a time for us to show our gratitude to these people who have taken the time to sit down and listen to us , understand why we are asking for policy revision and respect our humanity.

‘It should be clear to all our key partners and the rest of the world that the struggle for equality in Uganda is far from over. In fact, it has just begun and we will not stop until every sexual and gender minority is accorded their rights as a human being.’