President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe arrived here Saturday to jeers and catcalls from hundreds of gay protesters angry over his recent condemnations of homosexuality.
Mugabe, arriving for Monday’s summit of the Southern African Development Community, brushed past reporters as he disembarked and ignored shouted questions on the protests. He slipped out a rear exit and sped away in a limousine, taking a back road to avoid the demonstrators who had waited for two hours along the main airport road.
Mugabe’s anti-homosexual crusade began earlier this month when he barred a gay and lesbian group from Africa’s largest international book fair, the theme of which, ironically, was human rights. Mugabe denounced homosexuals as “sodomists and sexual perverts” who had no legal rights. He lashed out again the following week, saying homosexuals were “worse than dogs and pigs.”
Gay activists in Johannesburg said they felt compelled to speak out on behalf of homosexuals in neighboring Zimbabwe, who do not have the same legal protections and access to the media.