Police pounce on city gays

Bulawayo police on Saturday arrested five members of the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (Galz) who were holding an end of year party at a city hotel.

STAFF REPORTER

Galz yesterday confirmed the incident saying the five were part of a group who were harassed by the police for wearing T-shirts inscribed with the message “same love”.

The T-shirts have an image of the so-called rainbow flag that is often used as a symbol of gay pride.

“I can confirm that 15 members were assaulted and five were arrested for wearing ‘same love’ T-shirts,” said Galz director Chesterfield Samba.

“Two suffered serious injuries. The five arrested were charged with public indecency under the Miscellaneous Offences Act and were made to pay $10 fines each before being released on the same night.”

The official said the two were seriously beaten by the police while the other three also complained of some injuries.

He said GALZ was still working on measures to have all of them treated for injuries sustained from the indiscriminate beatings by the police.

The Galz director said following their arrest the five were taken to Sauerstown Police Station where they were briefly detained before paying fines.

However, Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo yesterday said he had no information about the arrests. Southern Eye was shown an admission of guilt form signed by one of the suspects at Sauerstown Police Station.

Last year police arrested and detained 44 Galz members in Harare for unspecified charges.  There were reports that several of them sustained serious injuries during the raids and they were detained without charges.

The government has been accused of targeting homes of gays and lesbians as well as singling out their families for harassment.

President Robert Mugabe often attacks homosexuals saying they engage in unnatural acts.

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