• A Ugandan gay pride rally in August, 2014. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The government said it also had a plan to ‘cure’ homosexuals.
Ben Winsor

10 Aug 2016 - 11:15 AM  UPDATED 10 Aug 2016 - 1:40 AM

LGBTQIA+ activists in Uganda were forced to cancel a pride parade planned for 6 August following police raids and threats of violence, including from a government minister, organisers say. 

The country's notoriously outspoken Ethics Minister, Simon Lokodo, reportedly told activists they would be met by police and mob violence if they went ahead.

Nicholas Opiyo, a local lawyer and activist, tweeted the outcome of the meeting.

In a statement, the minister said the promotion of homosexuality was illegal, that it was a threat to children, and claimed organisers were seeking to "recruit" people to alternative sexualities.

"We have noted that the promotions being held are aimed at mobilising people to join this LGBT movement, which interestingly goes against the argument that gays are 'born' that way," the former Catholic priest said.

"We are aware that there are inducements, including money, being offered to young people to promote the practice," Minister Lokodo said.

Homosexuality is a criminal offence in Uganda, and a number of other African countries. 

The Minister said the government would use the police force to ensure that "the activities of the gay community were halted," vowing to continue to "suppress them".

"The law is clear that the promotion of LGBT Movement activities is criminal in nature and intent, and offensive to the laws of the Republic of Uganda," he said. 

The statement came days after police raided an LGBT+ event in a Kampala nightclub.

"The police locked the gates of the club, arrested more than 16 people – the majority of whom are Ugandan LGBT rights activists – and detained hundreds more for over 90 minutes," Human Rights Watch claimed.

The government has said that nobody was hurt in the raid, and that organisers of the event had failed to seek proper authorisation – claims organisers deny. 

The police beat and humiliated people, taking pictures of those attending and threatening to publish them, Human Rights Watch said. Homophobic violence by strangers and family members has also been on the rise in Uganda, local groups say.   

But the risks and bans didn't stop all celebrations, with some supporters posting messages of defiance on social media. 

Minister Lokodo has also hinted that the government may be rolling out publicly funded gay-conversion therapy, based on theories widely condemned by scientists and health professionals. 

"A program to rehabilitate members of the LGBT Community, with the ultimate aim of giving them a chance to lead normal lives again has been developed," Minister Lokodo said.

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