Protests against Nigeria’s harsh new anti-gay law are planned for Friday, March 7, in at least 14 cities worldwide.
The new law provides for prison sentences of 10 years for belonging to a gay organization, supporting same-sex marriages, and public displays of same-sex affection, and 14 years for getting married to a member of the same sex.
“Rarely have I seen a piece of legislation that in so few paragraphs directly violates so many basic, universal human rights,” said U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay.
Dozens of people have been arrested on homosexuality-related charges since the bill was passed in December, using the previously existing Nigerian law that calls for a 14-year prison sentence for homosexual acts involving either men or women, except in Islamic northern Nigerian states where sharia law applies. There a life sentence is allowed for male-male intimacy.
Protests on the Global Day of Action are planned in New York and Washington in the United States; London, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa; Vancouver, Canada; New Delhi, India; Brussels, Belgium; Frankfurt, Germany; Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; Oslo, Norway; and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Contact people for each event are listed on the Global Day of Action’s Facebook event page.
In many places, the protest will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the local embassy, consulate or other office of the Nigerian government.
“March 7 will be the first worldwide response of its kind. Local activists are calling for as many responses as possible, including co-ordinated street protests, actions on social media, and the release of statements endorsing the call from opinion leaders, politicians and international media.
“LGBT organisations and media can help by publicising the call through all channels possible. Individuals can help by organising protests, lobbying authorities, signing the global petition and joining the call on social media.”
In addition to inviting people to join the protest, organizers suggest that supporters:
- Share information about the local event on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, using the hash tag #Istandfor9jaLGBT.
- Create a video featuring the phrase “I stand for LGBT Nigeria” and the 3/7 event info, upload it to YouTube, and share with their networks.
- Take photos of themselves with a supportive message such as “I stand for LGBT Nigeria” and post them on social media networks.
- Organize street protests – however small — and send details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sign the AllOut petition against the law (currently 12,167 supporters; target 20,000). [That was the total on the morning of March 3. By the afternoon of March 4, the total was just shy of 80,000 and the new goal was set at 100,000.]
- Change their social media avatar to the Nigeria Solidarity icon from March 6 to 8.
WHERE AND WHEN
Here is some information and some sources of more information about individual protests. This list will be expanded as more details and contacts are received:
LONDON: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Nigeria House, 9 Northumberland Avenue, London. (See the London protest’s event page on Facebook)
NEW YORK: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Nigerian Consulate, 828 2nd Ave., New York.
WASHINGTON: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Nigerian Embassy, 3519 International Court NW, Washington, D.C. (See the Washington protest’s event page on Facebook.)
BRUSSELS: A strategizing picnic will be held in the Royal Park in Brussels between 12:30 and 13:30. All LGBT and their supporters are welcome to join and talk. Participants should bring sandwiches, banners and rainbow-colored umbrellas and T-shirts. Those who travel by train will meet at 11:30 in Brussels Central Station.
EDINBURGH: Focus on both Nigeria and Uganda, noon-1:30 p.m. at The Mound, Edinburgh. (See the Edinburgh protest’s event page on Facebook.)
NEW DELHI: 6 p.m., Indian time (UTC+05:30) at Sansad Marg, Connaught Place, New Delhi. (See this protest’s event page on Facebook.)
VANCOUVER: The protest will be a stand at 1 p.m. at the City Center Canada Line station (Granville and Georgia). Organizer Zdravko O. Cimbaljevic suggests that participants “bring whistles, rainbow flags, banners, Nigerian and your county flag, and other things you think can help so we can raise awareness.”
For details on other location, contact the people listed for each event on the Global Day of Action’s Facebook event page.
In addition, organizers are seeking support for the effort from celebrities and from international businesses with Nigerian operations.
They are also considering asking Western governments to deny visas to anyone in Nigeria who is involved in passing or enforcing the law.
This article was revised on March 4 to add the new total for the AllOut petition and information about the protest planned in New Delhi. It was again revised on March 6 to add information about protests in Vancouver, Oslo and Brussels.
- Whoopi Goldberg Calls for Global Solidarity with LGBT Ugandans and Nigerians (hrc.org)
- NIGERIA: Mob Attacks 14 Gay Men (joemygod.blogspot.com)
- Nigeria using torture to find and arrest gay men (thetimes.co.uk)
- Anti-gay mob violence forces 12 Nigerians to flee (76crimes.com)
- Nigerian mob demands death for gay prisoners (76crimes.com)
- Puny response to 68 arrests in Nigeria’s anti-gay war (76crimes.com)