Ugandan central London High Commission to face protest over anti-gay law

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A protest is due to take place on 8 January outside the Ugandan High Commission in London’s Trafalgar Square, over the Ugandan Parliament’s decision to pass its Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

This protest is jointly organised by the African LGBTI Out & Proud Diamond Group and the Peter Tatchell Foundation. It starts at midday and will end at 2pm.

Earlier this month, Uganda’s Parliament passed legislation to toughen the punishment for same-sex sexual activity, including life imprisonment for ‘repeat offenders’.

It extends the current penalty of life imprisonment for anal sex to all other same-sex acts, even mere kissing and touching. The bill introduces jail terms of five to seven years for promoting homosexuality, including advocating LGBT rights or assisting LGBT people or events.

The UK and US governments, criticised the move along with business magnate and investor Sir Richard Branson – who has urged for a corporate boycott of Uganda.

Campaigners are calling on Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni not to sign the bill into law.

“President Museveni prides himself as a liberator and a protector of all Ugandans. This bill neither liberates nor protects any individual,” said Edwin Sesange, director of the African LGBTI Out & Proud Diamond Group.

George Dhabangi, a trustee of the group, added: “The Ugandan Government should stop meddling with what two consenting adults do in private, as long as they don’t interfere with the rights and freedoms of other people. It is none of the business of the state.”

Speaking at a Christmas prayers event, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni said he would push the bill back to Parliament if he did not agree with it.

He said: “I will first go through it, if I find that it is right I will sign but if I find that it is not right I will send it back to Parliament.”

However, it is possible for parliamentary supporters of the bill to bypass the need for presidential approval if a further vote is tabled. They require a two-thirds majority.