Five men suspected of being gay have been arrested in Kenya after local people protested over a planned gay wedding.

Hundreds of people in the coastal town of Mtwapa protested after details of the secret ceremony became known.

The five men, aged between 20 and 23, were said to be guests at today’s ceremony and were taken in custody after residents alerted police.

The men who were to marry reportedly escaped the town and police had to rescue a number of men accused of being gay from angry crowds.

Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Local district official George Matundura told AFP that the five men will “undergo a medical examination before we charge them with homosexuality.”

He said police would “move swiftly” to close down gay and lesbian bars and thanked the public for their cooperation.

Local Christian and Muslim clerics announced plans of the wedding three weeks ago and warned they would not allow homosexuality in the area.