Cameroon, as well as many other African countries, is very conservative about homosexuality and considers it to be a crime. And this weekend police raid in one of the local gay bars made the situation even worse. Authorities began the raid by surrounding Mistral – a gay bar in Yaoundé – with vans and blockades in the early hours of October 9, making it impossible for patrons to flee the venue, which was not officially declared as a gay bar because the laws of the country don’t allow it, but which had always been considered as a place where gays could feel safe. Till now.
“People became anxious as they began to think of themselves as hostages,” one activist wrote on 76 Crimes, “Police then ordered people to leave the bar and checked for identification cards at the exit,” they added. However, all patrons were loaded into police vans, regardless of the identification they were carrying. “Police patrols were stationed at every corner of the cabaret — in front, beside, inside, behind,” the activist – who wrote under a pseudonym – continued. “As if it were a commando operation, armed police searched inside the bar for people hiding there. Some bar-goers tried to escape out the back, but another police truck was parked there.” An exact number of people arrested is not known, reports say about dozens. They all may receive an imprisonment for homosexuality