Update: Police arrest and beat Uganda Pride pageant participants

The Mr. & Miss Pride Uganda pageant before the raid.

The Mr. & Miss Pride Uganda pageant before the raid.

UPDATE: It’s been confirmed that the person who jumped from the 4th floor of the building is still alive but in critical condition. Read the update here.

The fifth annual Uganda Pride celebrations have been shattered by a police raid that saw victims beaten and abused.

On Thursday, officers raided the Mr. & Miss Pride Uganda pageant and arrested around 25 people.

Shockingly, there are reports that one person, a transgender individual, died in hospital after jumping from the venue’s fourth floor in a bid to flee the police.

The arrests were made on charges of unlawful assembly, although organisers say they had permission to hold the event.

Social media reports from the group Icebreakers Uganda offer an insight into the horrific incident.

“Some suggesting we jump off. Others hiding. Contestants running to remove make up and take off their clothes,” said one tweet.

Others included: “Police acted like terrorists. Holding guns and chasing down a white female journalist. Picking out other white people…” and “two policemen had sticks and were beating up people. Calling them all sorts of names.”

Police are said to have forced those who were detained to show their faces to journalists who were called to photograph the raid.

“Tomorrow is going to be even harder if local media houses decide to print out pictures they took to expose us!” said Icebreakers in a tweet.

The group added: “We are scared for the many young people whose pictures were forcefully taken by the press on command of the police.”

Activists later reported that all those arrested had been freed. It is unclear how the raid will affect other planned Pride activities.

Over the last four years, Uganda Pride has been held largely as a private event. It has not been widely advertised and details are spread by word of mouth in the community.

Colonial-era legislation criminalising gay sex remains in force in Uganda, allowing the courts to imprison anyone found guilty of homosexuality for life.

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