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A crowd of around 100 people surrounded and beat an American tourist in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, in a suspected homophobic attack before parading the victim barefoot, bleeding and wearing only his boxer shorts through the streets.

According to the Senegalese news site Seneweb, the victim was an American musical who was due to perform at at a contemporary art event in Dakar, and was assumed to be gay because of his “stylish clothing” was reportedly held by his wrists while his was repeatedly hit on the head by dozens of assailants. In a video, shot on a mobile phone, the crowd can be heard shouting “let’s kill him before the police arrive”, “homosexuality will not be accepted in Senegal” and “he does not deserve to live”.

Translation: At a time when the controversy around the footballer Idrissa Gana Gueye is big news across the country, these images are controversial. They show a mob attacking a young man who is accused of being homosexual. Police investigations have been launched.

One protester was heard to say that he was ready to kill every homosexual that he found, while another proudly declaimed, “Senegal is a homophobic country and we’re proud to say it”. 

The former French colony offers no rights of protection to LGBTQ+ people and punishes homosexuality with up to five years in prison, driving the local gay community underground. Police are actively homophobic, arresting victims of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes and sometimes even imprisoning them without charge or trial. Although the country’s attitude to homosexuality has been condemned by the US State Department, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, legislators are currently in the process of introducing a bill to double the prison terms for people convicted of being homosexuality from five to ten years.

Anti-LGBTQ sentiment in Senegal was recently highlighted when the footballer Idrissa Gueye, who plays for Paris St Germain in the French league as well as for the Senegal national team, asked not to be selected for a French league match rather than having to wear a rainbow-coloured logo on his kit to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

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