Ethiopia: Church activists who claim ‘gays rape children’ drop planned protests

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Religious groups which deem being gay “dangerous” and claim that gay people “rape children” have been forced to abandon plans to demonstrate in Ethiopia’s capital.

A demonstration on 26 April was due to held in Addis Ababa by the Addis Ababa Youth Forum and the Weyiniye Abune Tekelehaimanot Association, which is linked to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

But the rally appeared to lack support from the government and the Church.

Same-sex sexual activity is already illegal in Ethiopia and can lead to 15 years in prison, or 25 years if HIV was transmitted during sex.

The government has now backed away from increasing the penalties.

“We have no agenda to further it because the law is already there and there is no way that we are going to tamper with it,” Information Minister Redwan Hussein told AFP on Thursday.

Dereje Negash, the head of Woyniye Abune Teklehaimanot, said the groups would nevertheless fight on in their bid to warn Ethiopians about the “dangers” of homosexuality.

“We want to continue with our plan… want the Ethiopian people to know about this situation and we need to have a lot of rallies to stop these actions,” he said.

“The constitution should be revised because the situation that is going on right now is getting worse,” he added.

Earlier this week Mr Negash 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.”