Citizens of the central African nation of Cameroon celebrated their first national ‘Gay Hate Day’ on Tuesday.

The negative parody of gay pride parades was organised by the Rassemblement de la Jeunesse Camerounaise association (Cameroonian Youth Rally – RJC) and was held in the capital, Yaoundé, despite outcries from many human rights leaders across Africa.

In a statement issued by the RJC, an organisation that proudly boasts of hatred for homosexuality, it said that the aim of the parade was to glorify homophobia and vow to make it an annual event.

Spokesperson for the RJC, Sismondi Barlev Bidjocka, said in a recent television debate that “homosexuality is a crime against humanity”.

The rally was held on August 21, the anniversary of the murder and alleged rape of 31-year-old student Narcisse Olivier Djomo Pokam, by what the RJC labelled the country’s “gay mafia”.

The “gay mafia” myth was popularised by the Cameroonian press at the time, alleging that ‘homosexual predators’ held significant positions of power within the country and were conspiring together.

Many countries in Africa are still intensely intolerant of homosexuality with many religious leaders continuing to preach hatred and even death of homosexuals.

Cameroon’s Archbishop of Yaoundé declared homosexuality “shameful” and “an affront to the family, [an] enemy of women and creation.”

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