Namibia's gay paraders call for legal protection

(iStock)
(iStock)

Windhoek - Scores of people waving rainbow flags peacefully paraded through the streets of Namibia's capital Windhoek on Saturday, calling for better legal protection of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in the largely conservative country.

Around 150 people, decked out in the gay pride colours, danced and marched their way down Windhoek's main thoroughfare, Independence Avenue, chanting "we are one" in what was the first gay pride march in the Namibian capital.

They were cheered on by most onlookers who applauded as the marchers made their way through the city centre.

However some passersby yelled derogatory comments at the gay pride marchers. No incidents were reported during the parade, which was escorted by police.

While homosexuality is technically not illegal in Namibia, sodomy is criminalised and punishable by a jail term, though this law is rarely enforced.

Same sex couples complain of discrimination and lack of legal protection in the event of domestic violence.

"The request is not for marriage. The request is for some legal protection to couples that live together," said Friedel Dausab, director of Out-Right Namibia an LGBTI organisation.

While the march was the first such to be held in the capital, protests over discrimination against gays and lesbians have taken place previously in other Namibian towns.

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