Kenya’s would-be first gay wedding was violently stopped by protesting youths and police on Friday at Mtwapa near Mombasa, hours before it was due to take place.
Police intervened as dozens of Christian and Muslim youth stormed the apartment where three men — including the gay couple — had been putting up, intent on flushing them out to stop the wedding.
They arrested five suspected homosexuals, including two who were rescued from youths baying for their blood but the local police chief later said no charges would be preferred.
“I sent Mtwapa OCS to rescue them from angry residents baying for their blood because they were trying to conduct that marriage between men,” said Kilifi police chief Grace Kakai.
The wedding between two men had been scheduled to take place at a private villa. But the protesting youth, banded together under the banner of the so-called Operation Gays Out, were not done yet.
They went to the Kenya Medical Research Institute at Mtwapa claiming the institute was harbouring yet another gay man.
The local station commander and a contingent of police officers calmed the angry youth who were preparing to storm the institute.
Guards at Kemri refused to open the gate, fearing for their lives.
Women who were among protesting locals, yelled at the top of their voices and called for an operation to flush out lesbians also claimed to be living among locals.
“God created men to provide sexual pleasure to us (women). What will happen now that they have turned to each other? Who will marry our daughters,” shouted a woman.
A frightened Kemri employee told reporters that the centre was conducting an international science research project but she declined to elaborate.
“This is international research project but wait for the head of the project to give you more information,” she said.
Religious leaders said the project should be terminated.
The research centre was opened by Dr Seth Berkley, President of International Aids Vaccine Centre on 27 March 2007.
Sheikh Hussein Ali, the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya Kikambala region coordinator and National Council of Churches of Kenya, Kilifi district representative Bishop Laurence Chai led Operation Gays Out.