John M. Becker

Angry Mob Ransacks LGBT Group HQ in Ivory Coast

Filed By John M. Becker | January 27, 2014 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Africa, anti-LGBT attacks, Côte d'Ivoire, hate crime, Ivory Coast

ivory-coast-map.jpgThe headquarters of the most prominent LGBT organization in the west African nation of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) was attacked and "ransacked" by an angry mob on Saturday, according to a report from the Associated Press:

Nearly 200 people stormed the offices of Alternative Cote d'Ivoire in Abidjan, the capital, on Saturday afternoon, breaking windows with stones and stealing computers and other equipment, said Claver Toure, the group's executive director.

"Everything they could take was taken, and the rest was broken," Toure said, adding that a private security guard was hospitalized with wounds to his face.

Toure criticized what he described as a deliberately slow response by security forces. Government spokesman Bruno Kone and Interior Ministry spokesman Bazoumana Coulibaly both said they were unaware of the attack Monday morning.

In a statement on Friday, the organization Front Line Defenders detailed escalating threats against Toure's group and warned that "rumors are circulating that a more virulent attack is envisioned" for Saturday.

The AP report notes that Ivory Coast is not known for anti-LGBT violence, and that it actually has a reputation as being something of a safe haven for LGBT people fleeing persecution in other African countries. In addition, Ivory Coast is one of just eleven sub-Saharan African countries where homosexuality has never been criminalized.

But anthropologist Matthew Thomann, an expert on LGBT life in Abidjan, said that LGBT people still lack basic protections and that "there are high levels of impunity" for anti-LGBT attacks in the country.

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