Liberia: Violent Clashes At Gay Party

Violent clashes at gay party
11 November 2019

Violent clashes ensued in Sinkor, suburb of Monrovia when angry crowd disrupted a gay party, which some residence claim was a combined wedding for 20 gay couples early on Sunday, 10 November with one person losing a tooth in the incident.Though an official invitation to the wedding said party, residentsinsist that those welcoming guests wore wedding dresses.The angry mob moved into Allen's Compound at Cheeseman Avenue on 16th Street, Sinkor where the event was taking place; besieged the premises and disrupted the gay ceremony early Sunday.

In Liberia, gay and lesbian practices are not legal, and vast majority of the country's population dominated by the Christian and Muslim faiths gets irritated by campaigns by some individuals in some quarters that are seeking the legislation of same sex marriage here.Though the act is not recognized or legalized, there are claims however that others are still engaged in same sex activities at their own risk.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with this paper on Sunday, a community leader for Block-B in the area, Mr. Joe Goeh explains that he received a call around 2:30 AM [on Sunday] concerning a gay wedding.Mr. Goeh narrates that he was informed by the caller that a combined wedding for 20 gay couples was taking place in the Allen's Compound, but angry mob had besieged the area.

He explains that in no time people were running in different directions when the angry mob and the homosexual men were engaged in a stone - throwing battle.According to Mr. Goeh, he was forced to return to his house due to the stone battle and decided to observe the situation from his residence.

Mr. Goeh indicates that community people informed him that they saw gay couples dressed in the same kinds of wedding gowns used in normal wedding programs.According to him, locals narrated that the gays drew community dwellers' attention when they (gays) left Allen's compound and moved to the main street in the community in their wedding gowns.

Meanwhile Mr. Goeh says he believes that the government here is aware of the gay wedding ceremony due to the presence of security personnel at the compound to protect the gays in the event of any reaction by the residents.He says one person lost a tooth during the fight, but Mr. Goeh did not say who it was.He narrates that angry mob brought down the entire Iron Gate at Allen's compound, leaving the building without any security protection.

He reveals that this is not the first gays wedding being held at Allen's compound.Mr. Goeh recalls that in November 2018, a similar wedding was held in the same compound, but it faced serious setback at that time when some community dwellers reportedly stormed the compound and disrupted the ceremony.52 year old Jackson Miller who lives close to the fence of Allen's compound narrates that while in his house, he heard the names of gay couples being called-up for the officiating of their wedding.Elder Miller discloses that by 3:00 AM, objects started to drop on his house continuously from the angry mob, which forced occupants of his house including children to wake from sleep.

Miller says he could not hear people talking again within the compound following the throwing of objects.

He adds that when he and his family came out door, they saw some of the private security officers who were assigned to the compound hiding behind his house for their own safety.Elder Miller explains further that the angry mob entered Allen's compound and began pulling out several cartoons which allegedly contained the lubricants used on a person during sodomy.According to him, the angry mob scattered items on the streets.

Besides, Elder Miller reveals that the mob held the group hostage until daylight, making it difficult for them to easily vacate the compound.

Officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) arrived on the scene, and the gate was later reinstalled by the police and some officers from private security firm SEGAL to ease the high tension in the community.Mrs. Marie Blessing, another eyewitness who lived opposite the compound, says prior to the tension, some of the gays were wearing high heels, makeup, ear rings, weave caps, and eye lashes, among others.

According to Mrs. Blessing, the gays in the feminine dress code came out of the fence of Allen's compound to receive and welcome their counterparts to the ceremony.

She says it was during that time when zogos in the community saw the gays and attacked them.An officer from private security firm SEGAL that was on duty during the incident, only identified as Lester, declined to speak to reporters. SEGAL's motorbike that was parked in the compound was reportedly stolen by the mob.Other sources hint that most of the participants at the party appear very young.

It can be recalled that during former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf'sregime, mob attacked Mr. Archie Ponpon, an advocate for gays' rights during one of his advocacies in Monrovia.LNP officers at the scene refused to speak to the press on grounds that the tension was still high among the community residents who threatened to forcibly eject the gay couples out of Allen's compound.There was no information of any arrest made by the police in connection to the incident.Meanwhile, some residents of the 16th Street Community are calling on government to ensure that people publicly involved in homosexual business are arrested and prosecuted because the act is illegal.

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