Last weekend’s police raid at the Mistral bar in Yaoundé, Cameroon, ended with the release of everyone who had been arrested.
Police said it was not an anti-gay operation, although the violence of the late-night Oct. 9 raid had seemed to suggest that it was, especially because Cameroon is a country where homosexual activity remains a crime and LGBTI people are shunned, or worse. But everyone whom police took to the 4th district station at 3 a.m. Sunday was released by about 1 p.m.
LGBTI rights activists who had been alerted to the incident went to the police station and were reassured by the officer handling the case that there was no problem. He said that raid was aimed at public disturbances.
That possibility was mentioned in this blog’s first article about the raid. (“Also unclear is … whether the raid was an anti-gay operation or merely an attempt to impose order on a rowdy part of the city’s nightlife.” — Oct. 9, 2016)
Police warned that such raids will continue through January, in particular to maintain order during upcoming months while Cameroon hosts for the Africa Cup for women’s football. Those matches will be played in Yaoundé and Limbe.
Yaoundé residents say that police raids have been common recently in the capital, including public places such as Kennedy avenue and the central market, where expatriates were ensnared in a police operation a few weeks ago.
- Mass arrests at gay bar in Cameroon (Oct. 9, 2016, 76crimes.com)
- Cameroon police surround gay bar with trucks and arrest every person inside (Oct. 10, 2016, Gay Star News)
- Police raid gay bar, arrest every person inside (Oct. 10, 2016, Pink News)
- Cameroon police raid gay bar and arrest everyone inside (Oct. 11, 2016, MambaOnline – Gay South Africa online)
- Police in Cameroon Raid Gay Bar, Arrest Unknown Number of Patrons (Oct. 11, 2016, Towleroad.com)
- En una redada, la Policía de Camerún detiene a todos los clientes de un bar de ambiente LGTB de Yaoundé (Oct. 13, 2016, Cristianos Gays)
- Camerun: la polizia circonda un locale gay-friendly e arresta tutti (Oct. 13, 2016, Gay.it)