The offices of LGBTI rights group Alternative Cote d’Ivoire were ransacked by around 200 homophobic thugs on Saturday – smashing windows and stealing computers
The most prominent LGBTI rights group in the West African nation of Ivory Coast has had its offices looted, with rocks and garbage hurled into the building and computers and other valuables stolen by a mob of around 200 anti-gay protesters.
Ivory Coast is one of the few African countries that does not criminalize homosexuality so it has traditionally been seen as a safe-haven for homosexuals.
However the attack on the offices of Alternative Cote d’Ivoire after days of anti-gay protests may indicate that attitudes towards LGBTIs are hardening in the country.
A security guard who had been hired by the group to protect them was serious injured during the attack and had to be taken to hospital after sustaining facial wounds.
Protesters left signs in the building reading ‘Stop the homos!’ and ‘Pedes [a slang word for pedophiles] get out!’
The US Ambassador to Ivory Coast released a statement condemning the attacks.
‘I was shocked and saddened to read about recent attacks against homes belonging to members of the LGBT community and more recently, the headquarters of Alternative Côte d’Ivoire,’ Ambassador Terence P McCulley said Monday.
‘Freedom of expression and freedom of association are fundamental rights in a democracy. Even if you do not agree with the point of view of an organization or its members, we have an obligation in a democracy, to support the right of people to organize and express themselves. I hope that Ivorians understand that these attacks are not compatible with democratic values.’
Homosexuality has never been a crime in the Ivory Coast as it inherited its penal code from the French but LGBTIs have no legal protections from discrimination and no legal recognition of their relationships.
by Andrew Potts
Source – Gay Star News