10 March 2009

Thousands of Burundians turn out for anti-gay demo

BUJUMBURA (AFP) — Thousands of Burundians took part in a government-organised demonstration Friday to demand that homosexuality be criminalised.

Between 10,000 and 20,000 people turned out, according to varying estimates, to protest the senate's decision not to criminalise homosexuality, in the largest demonstration since President Pierre Nkurunziza came to power in 2005.
Read the full AFP article. We were at home having lunch that afternoon while this was going on so we didn't get to see it when it passed by Mike's office. Apparently it was a peaceful demonstration, so despite what they were demonstrating for, it may have been the most peaceful large demonstration in the country's history.

There's been discussion about whether homosexuality should be a crime in Burundi. It's a religious conservative country and many people believe that it's not just a sin, but should be punishable by law. Incidentally, at the same time the homosexuality bill was brought up, the government passed a law abolishing the death penalty. Yay! Look, no death penalty! We'll just try to sneak this anti-human-rights bill through while everyone's distracted by the death penalty abolishment.

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