Peter Tatchell released after arrest at LGBT+ protest in Qatar
Peter Tatchell has just been released 25 October after being arrested the same day due to his staging the first ever LGBT+ protest in any gulf state.
His arrest comes jus 26 days in advance of the World Cup to be held in Qatar and his supporters say is evidence of the country ‘sportswashing’ to enhance its image on the international stage.
Peter was staging a one man protest in Qatar at the time of his arrest and was holding a placard in support of Qatari LGBT+ people.
He was also wearing a T-Shirt that read #QatarAntiGay.
Speaking from Qatar shortly before his protest, Peter Tatchell said:
“There can be no normal sporting relations with an abnormal regime like Qatar. It is a homophobic, sexist and racist dictatorship.”
After his release he stated he protested for 35 minutes in front of the National Museum of Qatar before state security, followed by the police arrived:
“I was arrested and detained on the kerbside for 49 minutes.
There were a total of nine officers surrounding and interrogating me about where I was from, who was helping me, where I was staying and when I was leaving Qatar.
Officers also arrested my colleague, Simon Harris, from the Peter Tatchell Foundation, who was filming and photographing me.
The police took Simon’s phone and deleted all his photos and videos — but only after he had already sent them to London.
This was the first LGBT+ public protest in Qatar or any Gulf nation.
I did this protest to highlight Qatar’s abuse of LGBT, women’s and migrant workers rights.
I was standing in solidarity with brave Qatari human rights defenders who cannot make their voices heard because of the risk of arrest, jail and torture.
I am heading back to the airport with Simon now.”
Peter Tatchell has been campaigning for human rights for 55 years, since 1967.
He is best known for his two attempts to arrest the Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, in 1999 and again in 2001.
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