Riots in Senegal over gay “wedding” photos
Gangs of protestors clashed with riot police in Dakar on Friday after a magazine published photos of an alleged wedding between two men.
Newspapers and radio stations in the Senegalese capital have been filled with stories about the arrest and release of several men after tabloid magazine Icone ran the photos in their February edition.
Friday’s demonstration, which took place in front of Dakar’s main mosque, had initially been authorised by police, but they changed their mind and used tear gas to disperse the crowd, who blockaded roads and burned piles of rubbish.
Public reaction in the mainly Muslim former French colony has been stridently anti-homosexual.
“The police wanted to ban the march,” demonstrator Landing Goudiaby told Reuters.
“Homosexuals are not welcome in our country. They’re not tolerated in Senegal.”
Several men were arrested on suspicion of homosexuality following the publication of photographs of a “marriage ceremony” between two Senegalese men. They were later released.
Senegal is one of the few Francophone African countries that penalises homosexuality.
Homosexual acts are punishable by imprisonment of between one and five years and a fine of 100,000 to 1,500,000 CFA francs.
While there are occasional arrests and convictions of gay men in Senegal, social stigma and blackmail are the most prevalent abuses faced by gay men in the country.