Ugandan police raided and stopped an LGBTQ film festival that was planned for this past Saturday afternoon.
Kamagoa Hassan is the founder of The Queer Kampala International Film Festial, or QueerKIFF for short.
At first, the event was going well and tickets were sold out (despite the fact that Hassan had to convert an empty warehouse into a cinema due to the lack fo LGBTQ-friendly spots).
That said, around 2pm on Saturday, Hassan and other organizers got word that police were coming to arrest them.
In Uganda, homosexuality is illegal. As such, Hassan and his team of organizers keep the event’s location a secret and thoroughly evaluated hopeful attendees.
That said, Hassan alleges that a fellow Ugandan LGBTQ organization tipped the police off anyway.
“Why do people want to do this?” he told Gay Star News.
“The police are coming and searching for me, they want to arrest me. But I won’t go because I have to make sure everyone is safe.”
Luckily, Hassan has connections of his own and says a Ugandan human rights advocate told him 30 minutes ahead of time that the police were on their way. Then when the police showed up, they showed up with guns and the event was canceled.
In addition, it seems to be a popular idea that this police raid was the plan of those looking to sabotage the event.
“We get the feeling… it’s people deliberately trying to sabotage the event,” said Joaninne Nanyange, the deputy executive director of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) to GSN, “When we called the police to find out what was going on, they had no idea what had happened.”
Nanyange says that her organization has been working with police departments to create training workshops. They hope to grow sensitivity and awareness of LGBTQ people/issues in the police.
“The police have changed quite a bit,” she said.
“That’s why we get shocked it’s still happening, we’ve tried to reach out to police and they’ve been very accepting but we don’t know what it is, we don’t know where that disconnect it is.”
“Maybe we need to engage them more.”
Sadly, due to the event's closure, not enough money was made to pay back the venue and other event fees.
“This event is going to leave the venue owners in debt who had trusted me with their space,” Hassan lamented.
“I am feeling sad right now.”
If you want to help, an emergency fundraiser was created to try to pay for festival costs.