Buzzfeed reports: Ugandan police interrupted the Mr. and Miss Pride Uganda pageant at Kampala’s Venom nightclub on Thursday night, detaining several well-known LGBT activists for about three hours before releasing them without charge.
Around 20 to 25 people were arrested, those detained told BuzzFeed News after their release. That number included Pepe Julian Onziema and Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda, who both posted on their Twitter timelines that they were being placed under arrest at around 10:30 p.m. local time. Clare Byarugaba, a former co-coordinator of the coalition opposing anti-LGBT legislation in Uganda who’s now on the staff of the human rights group Chapter 4 Uganda, was also among those taken into custody, Chapter 4 director Nick Opiyo told BuzzFeed News.
“They were beating people … mostly the trans women,” Adebayo Katiiti Phiona, who won the title of Mr. Pride in 2015, told BuzzFeed News. “A police person even stepped on a trans woman.”
Pepe Julian Onziema of Sexual Minorities Uganda told BuzzFeed News police said the event was held without proper permission from police, a claim he emphatically denied.
“There’s no way we would hold an event without a clearance,” Onziema said, saying organizers had always communicated with police before holding Pride events for the last four years. “They don’t care as long as the word ‘homosexuality’ is mentioned. As soon as that is mentioned, everything else ceases and [police feel they] have to act.”