On the 4th of August 2016, Uganda Police raided and shut down an event organized by the LGBT community as part of Pride Week Celebrations at Club Venom in Kabalagala. The event which was a beauty pageant was held to crown Mr and Mrs Pride. Uganda Police Force raided the event arresting SMUG ED Dr Frank Mugisha, SMUG PD Mr Pepe Julian Onziema and other individuals suspected to be transgender persons on unfounded allegations that there was a “Gay Wedding” going on. Police further beat up, pointed guns at and forcefully took pictures of LGBT people and allies who attended the function ostensibly with the intention to “out” them on the basis of “anti mwagala kulya bisiyaga.” One man jumped over the rail on the 4th floor in a panic.
The arrested persons were later set free with a warning and Gerald a victim is in hospital recovering from injuries sustained when he jumped from the 4th floor.
Police’s actions at the pride event fit within their recent record of brutalising Ugandans and are an example of the continuous deplorable acts against human rights in Uganda committed by the Uganda Police Force. This was a blatant act of discrimination against LGBTQIA and allies who were watching a beauty pageant at a private club. LGBTQIA Ugandans are entitled to host events just like any other citizens without facing disruption and intimidation by the same Police Force that had been notified of all pride events in accordance with the Public Order Management Act. The actions of the police were informed by the homophobia and transphobia of individual officers and not the laws of Uganda. This is yet another incident that escalated into violence against LGBTQIA as a result of prejudice and Police Ugandan over the citizens of Uganda.
Sexual Minorities Uganda-SMUG condemns Uganda Police Force –UPF brutality against LGBTIQ persons that were gathered at Venom Bar yesterday and the continued use of excessive force, violence and intimidation against all citizens of Uganda by UG Police.