Police in Ghana have arrested 22 people who were allegedly in attendance of a “lesbian wedding” Saturday in the town of Obomeng, in the Kwahu mountains. Attendees claim the event was actually a “birthday party.”
Video footage capturing the raid shows officers verbally confronting attendees. A woman asks, “Why are you pushing me like that?” before an officer moves her off camera. Another is heard shouting, “Arrest everybody!”
According to the African Equality Center, which has been reporting updates on Twitter, 22 people are being held in police custody in the neighboring Mpraeso district. In an interview with Angel FM, a representative from the police district indicated that those in custody were being held on charges related to breaking Covid-19 quarantine protocols but that “If we are able to get additional information that is evidence to the effect that they were doing something extra,” they would add additional charges.
African Equality Center, however, claims that the quarantine violations was an excuse to raid what was rumored to be a “lesbian” event. Speaking to Angel FM, Nana Effah Opinaman III, a local leader of the community, alerted police after hearing the rumors; he is reported to have said that homosexuality is a “taboo” and that the town will perform a cleansing ritual in the wake of the event.
Homosexuality is illegal in Ghana, and LGBTQ+ persons face the possibility of intense discrimination, arrest, and imprisonment. Recently, a local organization, LGBT+ Rights Ghana, had opened a safe space for LGBTQ+ persons, only to have to shut down immediately following a police raid.