Police in Ghana raid lesbian wedding, arrest 22 people
A wedding party for two women was raided by police in Ghana, leading to the arrest of 22 people. The raid last Saturday, March 27, was captured on video obtained by GhanaWeb.
The police raid follows growing hostility in Ghana against the LGBTQ community, capped by a previous raid on an office of an LGBTQ rights group.
Likewise, anti-LGBTQ lawmakers in the country had earlier promised to criminalize the promotion of LGBTQ rights.
A hidden wedding party in Ghana
The event happened at a gathering in Kwahu-Obomen in the eastern region of the country. The unnamed venue was a residential facility.
According to local journalist Okwahuhemaa Piesie Afia Pokua who witnessed the event, she said that organizers had tried to disguise the event as a birthday party.
However, she said the wedding decorations gave it all away, including a wedding cake ready to be cut by the married women.
“I had information that some people suspected to be gays and lesbians were having a party and named the party ‘birthday party’ and they had planned to have a marriage ceremony, meaning two ladies were going to get married,” Pokua said.
“During the event, I heard the emcee saying, ‘today, we have a vow to make, we’re here purposely for something whether police come or not, we go do our thing’,” she said.
The actual wedding ceremony happened in a separate room that included a select group. Then Pokua reported the emcee announcing the appearance of the “birthday girls.”
She said, “When they came out, I saw a woman with what looked like a lace made into a wedding gown with a veil, bridal fan, and bridal purse, the one acting like a man was also costumed in a Nigerian outfit.”
A sudden raid by the Ghana police
Fifteen minutes later, the police arrived to break up the wedding party. Ghanaweb reported that the police were tipped off by local leaders.
In the video, the police shouted and pushed attendees while arresting them. While some of the attendees protested the police action, others were able to escape.
While the police brought those they arrested to the local station, they were forced to release them on bail because of the lack of available female cells.
According to the report, the landlord of the venue could face charges as the facility was reportedly used for various LGBTQ events, as well as illegal activities like prostitution.
Previously, the office of LGBT+ Rights Ghana was raided by the police with the group posting a video on their social media. They were later forced to close down their facilities.
The group posted on Twitter: “A few days ago, traditional leaders threatened to burn down our office but the police did not help.”
“At this moment, we no longer have access to our safe space and our safety is being threatened,” they said.
Hostility against the LGBTQ community
The growing hostility against the LGBTQ community in the country could also be seen with the action of a group of Ghanaian lawmakers who want to criminalize the promotion of LGBTQ rights.
“We owe it to ourselves and the people of Ghana to uphold that which gives us our identity as a people,” wrote Parliamentarian Samuel Nartey George from the opposition National Democratic Congress on Facebook.
“May we unite in this fight against the scourge and perversion that homosexuality presents. So help us God,” George wrote.
Likewise, Ghanaian government officials are known for often making homophobic remarks.
Presently, persecution against the community is widespread and while no one has been prosecuted for same-sex relations yet in the country, gay sex is punishable with up to three years in prison.