Arrests, Evictions & Scapegoating: Coronavirus Takes a Toll On LGBT+ Africans


Just before breakfast on a Sunday morning, Ugandan security forces stormed an LGBT+ shelter outside the capital Kampala, accusing more than 20 gay, bisexual and transgender people of spreading the new coronavirus. Eye-witnesses said the police took everyone’s phones and shoes and soldiers bound their hands with rope and marched them barefoot to a nearby police station in Kyengera town. “At first the only question they kept asking was why there were condoms in house,” said Charles Senna, who works at the shelter run by the charity, Children of The Sun Foundation. “Then they changed to asking why there were so many people in the shelter … and saying that they were failing to follow the directions of the president on social distancing.” More than two weeks on, 20 members of the group are languishing in prison awaiting trial after being charged with disobeying COVID-19 social distancing rules and risking the spread of the virus.

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