Ugandan police on Wednesday detained 13 people protesting over discrimination against gays during a global HIV/AIDS conference, a spokesman said.
"We are demonstrating because we are not involved in the HIV/AIDS programme. We are discriminated against," shouted the group leader, 28-year-old Julian Pepe Onziema, who was forcefully led out of the conference hall.
Police said they arrested 13 demonstrators, all members of the Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) group, on charges of promoting homosexuality and "unnatural conduct".
"We have detained them for promoting homosexuality, which is a serious offence in our laws," Kampala police spokesman Simeo Nsubuga told AFP.
"Depending on the investigation and evidence available, these people may be imprisoned for life," Nsubuga added.
"They government does not give us money and other services given to other groups for fighting HIV/AIDS," Onziema shouted at the conference.
The group carried posters denouncing conference organisers for not involving them and asked the meeting to pressure the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni into accepting them as a minority group.
"Health is our human right," the banners read. Police immediately deployed heavily around the venue to avoid further demonstrations.
The 2008 HIV/AIDS meeting hosts some 1,700 delegates from more than 70 countries.
US President George W. Bush' Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the World Bank and several UN agencies are among the conference co-sponsors.
Maybe Reuters, here, is more factual
Part fact, part fiction.
3 of my colleagues are spending the night at Jinja Road Police Station. Apparently we did something wrong. But it is kind of hard to determine what we did wrong. The police are not very sure. And we are not very sure because they are not sure.
Anyway, they are sleeping in cold police cells, as police ‘continue investigations’. By law they can be held for a maximum of 48 hours before they are produced before a judge. It is the middle of the week, so, hopefully, they should be out soon!
Keeping my fingers crossed.
Hey, have just had a scare.
How secure is this blogging of mine? Of course the servers of Google are in the US, etc, etc. But between me and that exercise of my freedom is a lot of land, and powers, and possibilities. I do not plan to give up my blog. No, and never.
But it can be stolen from me. So, just in case I disappear, or start telling you some very uncharacteristic things, just remember that it might not be me. If I am free when such a thing ever happens, I will try to inform you all as soon as possible.