LGBTQ Tolerance Billboards Destroyed in Ghana

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6/17/22

Rights activists in Ghana are protesting after a crowd, urged on by a member of parliament, tore down a billboard that promoted tolerance toward the LGBTQ community. Last year, Ghanaian security shut down a European Union-supported LGBTQ community center, and some lawmakers are seeking to make gay rights advocacy illegal. To mark Pride month, LGBTQ+ activists mounted billboards in the capital Accra and two other cities with the inscription “Love, Tolerance and Acceptance.” However, the giant posters, positioned to catch the attention of commuters, sparked public uproar, prompting conservative MPs to call for their destruction. Ibrahim Murtala Muhammed, an opposition MP representing the Muslim-dominated constituency of Tamale, said he would not entertain activities of the LGBTQ+ community in his jurisdiction. “They deliberately attempted to cause pain within Muslims in the northern region and that is why they placed it here,” Muhammed said. “We would not allow this to happen within our jurisdiction. So we called the youth, we came together and pulled it down and burned it … any material that is pasted on any billboard within my jurisdiction and it’s from those people, we’ll pull it down and burn it. That particular act is not even accepted in Ghana law, so if anybody comes and goes contrary to Ghana law, we’ll teach the person a lesson.” Sam George, another MP, is one of the sponsors of a proposed law seeking to criminalize LGBTQ+ advocacy and impose longer jail terms for same-sex relations. George led a coalition last week to mount pressure on the police to tear down the billboard in Accra. That billboard was removed last Sunday. George hailed Wednesday’s act led by his colleague MP by tweeting: “So long as they mount those billboards, we would bring them down.”

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