Anti-gay protests planned in Ethiopia by religious groups claiming ‘gays rape children’

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An anti-gay demonstration will be held in Ethiopia later in April by two groups which deem being gay “dangerous”, and claim that gay people “rape children”.

The demonstration on 26 April will be held by Addis Ababa Youth Forum and the Weyiniye Abune Tekelehaimanot Association, which is linked to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, reports Al Jazeera.

Dereje Negash, chairman of the church group said: “Children are being raped by gay people in this country. Just yesterday we have met a woman whose boy was raped by two other men. All in all, gay acts are against health, the law, religion and our culture, so we should break the silence and create awareness about it.”

Tsegaye Gebretsadik, chairman of the youth forum added: “Gay practices are not our culture so we wanted the society to be aware of the danger and protect itself.”

The proposed protest has alarmed LGBT rights activists who have noted that other African countries have recently passed laws further criminalising homosexuality.

Politicians in Ethiopia are set to pass a bill that puts homosexuality on a list of offences considered non-pardonable under the country’s amnesty law. The country already criminalises homosexual acts, with jail terms of up to 25 years.

Organisers hope to have thousands of attendees for the event, which said it was intended to keep “alien culture and homosexuality at bay”.

The Ethiopian government has said it is “indifferent” to the protest, and is neither for nor against it, noting freedom of speech.

“We are indifferent, we just see it as the right to have a demonstration, otherwise we don’t support or oppose,” Information Minister Redwan Hussein told AFP news agency.