Ugandan police cut short a Gay Pride Week event in a Kampala night club last night with a violent raid that resulted in the arrests of about a dozen local organizers and gay rights activists.
Hundreds of community members who came out for the Mr. and Mrs. Pride Pageant were arrested inside the Venom nightclub, where one man, who jumped off the fourth floor of the building in fear of police, is now hospitalized.
Police reports deem the Pride Week event to have been unlawful, while organizers claim they asked expressly for permission.
Twitter went abuzz with firsthand accounts of police beating guests and nabbing their phones to delete photos, BBC reports. Maria Burnett of the African subdivision of Human Rights Watch also took to Twitter to lament that “police [were] clearly violating rights.”
Ugandan human rights lawyer Adrian Jjuuko wrote of the attacks: “The continuous arrests and stopping of events is meant to humiliate and harass … this ought to stop… They have beaten people, exposed them before camera, humiliated them and now released them. All are violations.”
In what was called a “sad abrupt ending to what was a beautiful night,” esteemed LGBT advocates Dr. Frank Mugisha and Pepe Julian Onziema were among the arrested, only to be released from custody a few hours later.
Since, Onziema has reminded community members to be cognizant of the “pure homophobia and transphobia” behind the raid and subsequent arrests. Same-sex relationships are illegal as per federal law, a tame alternative to the death penalty clauses that awaited Ugandan LGBTS until ruled out by the Supreme Court in 2014.