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Jamaican mob targets four gay men

by Rex Wockner

A mob of men, women, teens and children surrounded a pharmacy in Kingston, Jamaica, Feb. 14 and demanded that four gay men inside come out and face punishment for being homosexuals.
The crowd formed after another shopper took exception to the men's presence and began screaming that "battymen," or faggots, must be killed.
Police eventually rescued the men, three of whom "had bleached-out faces" and were "dressed in tight jeans pants and skimpy shirts," the Jamaica Observer newspaper reported. The officers had to fire tear gas into the crowd of 200 to clear an exit path.
One of the gay men was hit in the head with a rock while being escorted to a police vehicle.
"Unu can come save them nasty boy yah? Them boy yah fi go down," one member of the mob shouted at police, the Observer said. The statement means the men must be burned to death.
After rescuing the men, the police officers disparaged them en route to, and at, the police station, according to a statement from the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays.
"While in the vehicle, all the way to the police station, the men were taunted by the police with anti-gay epithets," J-FLAG said. "The insults continued even when the men arrived at the Half-Way Tree police station, where other police joined in the name-calling. The policemen at the station told them that they should be grateful and warned them never to return to Half-Way Tree."
The fourth gay man in the store, J-FLAG leader Gareth Williams, who was shopping separately from the others, said police slapped him, hit him in the head and struck him in the stomach with a rifle.
Jamaica, which seemingly has one of the world's most overtly antigay populations, punishes gay sex with up to nine years in prison.
"Citizens perceived to be gay remain vulnerable to attacks both from violent members of the public as well as from the security forces," J-FLAG said.

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Topics: Opinions
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