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Zambia Police Arrest Feminist NGO Leaders, Accuse Them of Promoting Homosexuality

Lusaka, Zambia — Zambia’s government said it will not tolerate the promotion of LGBTQ rights, saying such rights are against the country’s Christian values. The warning came a day after police arrested four activists from a feminist group for allegedly giving false information about a planned protest.

The group held an approved demonstration against gender-based violence Sunday ahead of International Women’s Day, but authorities say it was a front to promote homosexuality.

Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister Jack Mwiimbu told VOA on Wednesday that his government does not promote LGBTQ rights and has made its stance known since it came into power almost two years ago.

He condemned the march organized by the Sistah Sistah Foundation, saying it was against Zambian values and the law.

“I wish to warn members of the public not to allow and to flout the law deliberately by taking advantage of the prevailing environment that allow for freedom of expression and assembly,” Mwiimbu said.

Zambia Police Deputy Spokesperson Dan Mwale told VOA the protesters did not follow the permit regulations, which only allowed them to protest sexual and gender rights and not promote LGBTQ rights.

“Investigations have intensified, meanwhile police have instituted investigations into the programs and activities of Sistah Sistah Foundation,” he said.

Sistah Sistah Foundation declined to comment but put out a statement on Twitter saying it is shocked that the march, which it says was meant to highlight sexual violence against women, has been turned into horrific waves of hatred in public discourse, especially online.