Celebrations at the popular Kampala LGBTQIA+ and GQNB night club, Venom, prefacing the approaching weekend’s Pride marches ended tonight in bloodshed and mass arrests.
A party in celebration of identities and bodies alive in the rhythm of defiance of Uganda’s brutal anti-homosexuality codes and norms ended when military police barreled through the club’s front door carrying automatic weapons.
Patrons making a go for the entrances and back exits were met with more military police in blue camouflage fatigues.
Those in attendance tried to hide anywhere they could as police searched the crowd, primarily targeting Trans identifying peoples, or those they identified as Trans.
The larger crowd was ordered to kneel as police grabbed people at random taking pictures of their faces before allowing them to leave. The rest witnessed as Trans identifying people were beaten bloody, or sexually assaulted, as police inspected their genitalia.
One person in attendance who didn’t wish to be identified relayed, “I think if we rebelled, they would have just shot us. I handed my bag to a woman to not be identified and helped another Trans woman cut out her extensions. We didn’t do anything to deserve this…”
Those possibly at risk are reporters, three human rights activists in attendance including Clare Byarygaba and Trans people who were rounded up and loaded into police cars.
So much work went into this event tonight and so much blood has been spilled ahead this weekend’s march of the courageous Ugandan LGBTQIA+ and GQNB communities and peoples.
Tonight, tomorrow and everyday, until the work of the LGBTQIA+ and GQNB is met with mutual cooperation in celebration and realization of the equal value and dignity demanded is respected by the government of Uganda, a government who conducts raids like tonight’s with the military support in aid by the United States and allies, we must pressure these governments to stop supporting the illegal trade of arms to support this violence.