By Rex Wockner
Police raided the only gay bar on the touristy Hip Strip in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on Feb. 20, according to the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays, or J-FLAG.
Around 20 officers kicked in doors, shouted anti-gay slurs, beat and pistol-whipped patrons, and made everyone leave, J-FLAG said.
As the customers fled, patrons of nearby straight clubs pelted them with bottles and rocks, J-FLAG said.
Ten of the raid’s victims sought medical treatment for injuries sustained in the attack, according to J-FLAG.
There was a similar raid in early February at a gay club in Kingston, the capital.
Officials have provided no explanation for either incident.
On Feb. 25, Jamaican gay rights activist Maurice Tomlinson received an e-mailed death threat after his letter to the editor about the raids was published in a local newspaper.
The signed e-mail said:
"listen battyman we in jamaica wont endorse r accept you faggots no matter what the fuck u guys try 2 say r do.....get that through ur thick skulls!!!!!!!!!!!! we have different culture n upbringing fr north americans or whomever else.....you should consider moving sumwhere there......in the meantime shut the fuck up r you will fucking die!!!!!!!!"Tomlinson reported the e-mail to police and an official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He requested that the threat be publicized "just in case anything happens to me."
Tomlinson is a legal adviser for the organization AIDS-Free World and also works with J-FLAG.