Scuffles at funeral of Uganda gay activist

Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:21pm GMT

By Justin Dralaze

MUKONO (Reuters) - Scuffles broke out between locals and friends of a murdered Ugandan gay activist at his funeral on Friday after the pastor conducting the service berated gay people and villagers refused to bury the coffin.

David Kato was beaten to death with a hammer on Wednesday, police said. His photo was printed on the cover of a newspaper last October that called for gays to be executed under a headline that read: "Hang them".

Ugandan police say preliminary investigations point to Kato being killed during a robbery but human rights activists suspect his killing was linked to his sexuality.

The murder sparked worldwide condemnation and became one of the top 10 topics on the social media website Twitter on Thursday.

U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement, which was read out at the funeral, calling Kato a "powerful advocate for fairness and freedom".

During the funeral -- which was attended by about 300 people, including about 100 members of the country's gay community -- the pastor lashed out at homosexuality, provoking a strong reaction from friends of Kato.

"The world has gone crazy," the pastor told the congregation through a microphone.

"People are turning away from the scriptures. They should turn back, they should abandon what they are doing. You cannot start admiring a fellow man."   Continued...

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