Sit-down protest outside Uganda House
100s of marchers demand sanctions against homophobic Uganda regime
London, UK – 1 July 2023
Today’s Pride London parade was stopped when hundreds of marchers, including Ugandan LGBT+ refugees, staged a sit-down protest outside the Ugandan High Commission in Trafalgar Square.
They received cheers and applause from the Pride crowds and remained on the roadway for 15 minutes, despite Pride stewards trying to move them on.
Besieging the Ugandan High Commission, they chanted:
“Hey hey! Ho ho! Anti-gay laws have to go!”
“What do we want? Sanctions on Uganda. When do we want them? Now! “
The sit-down marchers were protesting the country’s draconian new Anti-Homosexuality Act, which became law four weeks ago, on 26 May.
They urged the UK government and international community to impose travel bans and asset freezes on Ugandan MPs who voted for the new anti-LGBT+ legislation.
The protest was organised by the Peter Tatchell Foundation, with the support of LGBTs from the African Equality Foundation and Out and Proud African LGBTI – many of whose members have fled Uganda to escape arrest, imprisonment, torture and mob violence.
The marchers waved placards with the words:
Solidarity with Ugandan LGBTs!
Sanction Uganda over anti-LGBT+ laws
Uganda! Scrap homophobic laws!
Museveni! Homophobic dictator! EQUALITY!
The Anti-Homosexuality Act stipulates the death penalty for repeat homosexual offenders and for gay sex with a person aged over 75 or under 18. It includes 20 years jail for advocating LGBT+ human rights, and seven years imprisonment for renting housing to LGBT+ people – and much more.
Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, noted:
“We took non-violent direct action outside Uganda House to stand in solidarity with heroic Ugandan LGBT+ campaigners and to register our strong objection to the new Uganda legislation. It is one of the most sweeping & draconian homophobic laws in the world. Almost every aspect of LGBT+ existence is outlawed, including LGBT+ sex, advocacy, and organisation. The Act violates the Commonwealth Charter. It also breaches Article 21 of the Uganda constitution, which guarantees equal treatment and prohibits discrimination.”
Gay Ugandan Abbey Kiwanuka of Out and Proud African LGBTI said:
“Uganda is going backwards. As LGBTI Ugandans, we are not even asking for same-sex marriage; we are advocating for LGBTI people to be left free to love whoever they want without fear of harm. Politicians in Uganda scapegoat LGBTIs and use homosexuality as a pretext to divert people from questioning their failed policies. It’s high time Ugandans woke up and realised that homosexuality is not the cause of people’s suffering. The problem is the rotten, corrupt system.”
Edwin Sesange of the African Equality Foundation, also from Uganda, added:
“Uganda must stop its persecution, respect LGBTI human rights, and uphold the equality and non-discrimination principles of the Commonwealth Charter. I call on the Commonwealth leadership to speak out and hold Uganda accountable.”