The organisers of the 2017 edition of Pride Uganda have announced the cancellation of the highly anticipated event due to concerns of the safety of the participants.
In a statement released to Kuchu Times, policemen surrounded the venue for the opening gala event early this morning and others were deployed to other venues.
According to the statement, Simon Lokodo, the state Minister of Ethics & Integrity threatened to arrest pride participants and physically harm one of the leaders in the movement.
The statement says:
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. 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.
One of the things he so vehemently puts forward is the recruitment theory- we are not here to recruit anyone into anything. This is a misconception that has been widely spread and is sadly believed by many. We were all born this way, we have no choice over who we love or how we identify therefore it is impossible to recruit anybody or change their attraction to whoever they’re sexually or romantically attracted to.
On social media, many have gone to express their dismay on the cancellation.
Uganda Pride canceled https://t.co/mBs9B8Kz4P
— Dr. Frank Mugisha (@frankmugisha) August 16, 2017
— Andreas Æbelø (@andreasaebeloe) August 16, 2017
— Scott Cuthbertson (@ScotCuthbertson) August 16, 2017
— Karla Strand (@logansrun98) August 16, 2017
— Mark Zustovich (@markzustovich) August 16, 2017
— Sharan Srinivas (@Sharan_Srinivas) August 16, 2017
— Richard Lusimbo 🌈 (@richardlusimbo) August 16, 2017
— Marloes Schoonheim (@DrMarloes) August 16, 2017
In 2016, the police raided one of the venues for Pride Uganda, assaulting attendees present.