Gambian President attends rally with protesters declaring: ‘Homosexuality is forbidden in Islam’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The President of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, has attended a mass rally against homosexuality in the country’s capital Banjul.

AllAfrica reports thousands of protesters marched from the Gambian Parliament on Tuesday carrying placards and banners declaring: “Homosexuality is Inhuman”; “Even cows don’t do it!” “Homosexuality is forbidden in Islam”.

Islam is the majority religion of Gambia, with around 95.3% of the population being Muslims.

In November, President Jammeh signed into law a bill which calls for life imprisonment for people caught taking part in same-sex sexual activity.

The law was passed by the National Assembly in September, and amends the criminal code to bring life sentences for “aggravated homosexuality.”

President Jammeh in February referred to gay people as “vermin”, saying they should be dealt with in the same way as mosquitoes which “cause” malaria.

Amnesty International recently reported that Gambian security forces were allegedly torturing people arrested in raids, threatening them with rape and pressuring them to confess to same-sex sexual activity.

Last month, Gambia’s Foreign Minister, Bala Garba Jahumpa, said that the country will not negotiate with the EU with respect to its anti-gay laws in return for aid.