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Wednesday, 9 March 2011

In Jamaica, raids on gay bars

Montego BayImage by sun dazed via Flickr
Source: Bay Windows

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.
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