12 December 2012

Uganda: Londoners Protest Anti-Gay Bill

In what appears to be continued foreign pressure on the Ugandan MPs to ditch the controversial anti-gay bill, dozens of gay activists again stormed the Ugandan embassy in London on Monday protesting what they termed as the 'world's most harsh and comprehensively homophobic law'.

The protests, which gathered momentum mid last month when speaker Rebecca Kadaga promised to have the bill passed as a Christmas present to Ugandans, were part of celebrations to mark the International Human Rights Day.

"We are standing in solidarity with Ugandan lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people against the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill," the protest's ring leader, one Peter Tatchell was quoted as saying by UK media.

Tatchell's human rights organisation, along with other London-based NGOs including UK Consortium on Aids & International Development and Kaleidoscope Trust have been vocal in mobilising Londoners to protest against the bill which could be passed before the end of this year.

A brainchild of Ndorwa West MP David Bahati, the bill has largely courted negative reviews from outside Uganda since its introduction in 2009. Recently, South Africa's anti-apartheid hero, Bishop Desmond Tutu joined the growing number of international figures who criticise the bill.

A number of donor organisations and countries including Germany and UK have previously threatened to cut foreign aid to Uganda if the bill is passed. The UK has been especially firm in its objection, even tabling the matter before its parliament.

Meanwhile, the story is different in Uganda with equally renewed public pressure to endorse the bill. People power seems to be steadily swallowing up occasional protests from the stigmatized homosexuals, following a story about former footballer Chris Mubiru, who was photographed in a compromising situation.

There are now calls for the house to swiftly pass the bill.

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