Protests have taken place in the streets of Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, over legislation that would legalise same-sex relationships.
Protesters marched around the city, backed by religious groups, to express their opposition to a measure that attempts to comply with a 2019 court judgement in favor of LGBTQ rights.
In 2019, Botswana’s High Court decided in favor of activists seeking to overturn prison sentences for same-sex relationships, calling the punishment unconstitutional. The government attempted to overturn the verdict, but lost on appeal in 2021.
One demonstrator said: “We are saying no to this abomination, no. It’s a sin. Botswana is a Christian country.”
Pulafela Siele, who chairs the Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana (EFB), an umbrella body of Pentecostal and Evangelical churches, insisted the bill should be stopped.
Member of parliament, Wynter Mmolotsi said what Christians believe should happen and Christians clearly do not agree with this. And therefore they are giving a guideline of how the law should be debated.
The protest comes amid a wider pushback against LGBTQ rights in southern Africa.
Last week, thousands of people took to the streets in Malawi ahead of a constitutional court case challenging the country’s ban on same-sex relationships.
Lawmakers in Namibia have backed legislation to ban same-sex marriage and punish its supporters, following a Supreme Court ruling that allowed for the recognition of some unions contracted abroad.