Breaking news: Uganda pride event raided

See related photos in the follow-up post “Photos: Police raid Uganda pride celebration.”

BREAKING NEWS:

Uganda map
Uganda map

Police in Entebbe raided the first Ugandan pride gathering today and detained many participants.

The event, which is part of pride activities scheduled for today and tomorrow, was held at the beach in Entebbe.

Ten people were reportedly detained by police, taken by van to the police station, and later released without charges being filed.

Among those detained was Jamaican activist Maurice Tomlinson, who was being honored as  grand marshall of the event. He reported:

I had the privilege of being the Grand Marshall for the first ever Uganda Pride held in Entebbe today, August 4, 2012.  As a result, I got my first ride in the back of a police van! This happened when the festive event was broken up after a police raid and I was detained for assisting a 60 year old woman climb into the back of the police van after police officers refused to help her!

The film-making team behind the documentary “Call Me Kuchu” quoted Ugandan activist Frank Mugisha as posting on Facebook “right now detained at entebbe police but we wont give up.”

“They didn’t give up, and the good news is that it seems that everyone has been released and Uganda PRIDE continues. As always, we are amazed by the courage and determination of Kampala’s kuchus [LGBTs]. A luta continua!!” the team added.

Tomlinson added:

After a very confusing and utterly disgraceful performance at the station by the police (including the officers insisting we all sit on the bare floor until we were processed, one officer pushing a young female to the floor and another verbally abusing the 60 year old female anthropologist from Makerere University) we were all released without charges or an explanation.  The police also detained a female British photojournalist covering the event. She was only released after a UK army officer came to the police station.
The Pride March had a truly carnival atmosphere and was spoiled by the arbitrary action of the police. None of the other beach goers complained about the events at the march as there was nothing to complain about!  Everything was done very tastefully as the organizers were aware that it was a public beach and many young children were around.  Many parents even brought their kids over to hear the music and listen to the few speeches and share in the jubilant atmosphere.  The Pride organizers even shared food and drinks freely with the onlookers.
… This firsthand exposure to the Ugandan police system gives me even greater respect for the tremendous work [Uganda activists] do under seemingly impossible odds.  Apparently, this kind of arbitrary police action is regular.

For photos of the celebration, parade and raid, see the blog post “Photos: Police raid Uganda pride celebration.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor / publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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Photos: Police raid Uganda pride celebration