A nude protest against homosexuality in Kenya's capital city scheduled for Wednesday was canceled just days before U.S. President Barack Obama was due to arrive in Nairobi. Thousands of naked men and women, including prostitutes, were expected to take part in the demonstration against Obama’s open support for the LGBT community, according to Kenyan newspaper the Star.
The protest's organizer, Republican Liberty Party leader Vincent Kidala, said he was urged to call off the nude demonstration by an “unidentified caller” and Kenya’s national security committee. “The caller said President Uhuru Kenyatta is not planning to discuss gay rights with U.S. President Barack Obama and that he is against gay rights,” Kidala told the Star Wednesday. “The unidentified caller said protesting would be like pushing for a terror attack. He said they have terror alerts and would not want to take chances.”
By Tuesday, there were reportedly about 3,600 people registered to participate in the nude protest aimed at showing Obama the difference between a man and a woman. Kidala said the demonstration would be back on if Obama would make any comments about LGBT rights during his three-day stay in the East African nation, the Star reported.
Kenya’s Republican Liberty Party sought permission for the demonstration after Obama hailed the U.S. Supreme Court’s watershed decision in June to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, the Star reported. Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and has been since colonial British rule. Obama’s upcoming trip to Kenya, where his father was born, has sparked a fiery debate in the country on rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
“Obama should know that gay rights is Western. When in Africa he should value our rights,” Kidala told the Star Tuesday.
Obama was scheduled to travel to Kenya this week for this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit and to hold bilateral meetings with his Kenyan counterpart. The White House has made it clear the U.S. president won’t shy away from LGBT rights during his visit.
“When the president travels around the world, he does not hesitate to raise concerns about human rights,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told the press Monday. “I am confident that the president will not hesitate to make clear that the protection of basic fundamental human rights in Kenya is also a priority and consistent [with what] we hold dear here in the United States of America.”
However, Kenyatta told reporters Tuesday that gay rights were a “non-issue” and “not on our agenda at all” because Kenya faces much more serious problems.