Uganda police stop anti-gay demonstration

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Police in Uganda has stopped a demonstration, in support of the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which was supposed to take place tomorrow in Kampala saying that the government is still sorting ‘issues out’.

Police is also investigating allegations that pro-gay activists under the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kampala secretly met on Sunday to condemn the same bill.

The chairman of Uganda national task force against homosexuality, pastor Martin Ssempa, who is the chief organizer of the demonstration confirmed that the Inspector of Police Major General Kale kayihura had contacted them and asked them to postpone the demonstration.

“Police has stopped us from holding a demonstration.The Inspector general of police, Gen. Kale Kayihura sent us a text message saying that he hasn’t cleared the demonstration. He said we should meet him today to forge a way forward,” Sempa said.

Uganda’s inspector general of police, General Kale Kayihura confirmed that he hasn’t cleared the demonstration. He said, “They cannot hold the demonstation because we have no cleared them. We have requested them to postpone the demonstration because government has some issues to sort out and they agreed”.

But only yesterday, an anti-gay demonstration took place in Uganda’s eastern region town of Jinja where over 4000 demonstrators participated. Pastor Martin Sempa addressed the demonstrators and attacked USA president Barack Obama for criticizing the anti-gay bill.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was tabled in parliament in October 2009, by member of parliament David Bahati. Since then Uganda has been criticized by the international community for planning to enact very harsh laws against homosexuals.

Meanwhile police is investigating allegations that gays met on Sunday at an undisclosed place. The general inspector of police Kale Kayihura said that investigations are already in process to establish whether they met.

He said that if it is established that they met, then police will react accordingly.

In Uganda, even with the existing laws, homosexuality is illegal. Holding a meeting for homosexuals is, therefore, unlawful and can lead to arrest and prosecution.

Anti-Gay Bill in Uganda  The Anti-Homosexuality Bill introduced in 2009 by MP David Bahati seeks to impose the death penalty on gay men who are HIV-positive for “aggravated homosexuality”. In Uganda today, homosexuality is already a crime punishable by a prison life term. This proposed law would not only condemn HIV positive gay men and "repeat offenders" to death, it would also jail for three years anyone who knows a gay man but refuses to report them to the authorities. In addition to that, anyone who defends gay rights in public will be sentenced to seven years in prison.
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