Activist Peter Tatchell 'arrested' in Qatar for protesting against anti-gay regime just weeks before World Cup | The Sun

Activist Peter Tatchell 'arrested' in Qatar for protesting against anti-gay regime just weeks before World Cup | The Sun

October 25, 2022

PETER Tatchell said he has been arrested after staging a one-man protest against Qatar’s treatment of gay people.

The activist was pictured holding a placard supporting Qataripeople, just 26 days before the start of the football World Cup.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and punishable by up to three years in prison.

Tatchell stood for more than hour wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with "#Qatarantigay" and holding a placard that read Qatar arrests and subjects LGBTs to conversion.

Two uniformed police officers and three plain clothes officials arrived at the scene.

They folded up his placard and took photos of Tatchell's passport and other papers, and those of a man accompanying him.

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Police left after shaking hands with Tatchell, who remained on the pavement.

The activist said he was arrested for the demonstration.

“There can be no normal sporting relations with an abnormal regime like Qatar," he said speaking from Qatar shortly before his protest.

"It is a homophobic, sexist and racist dictatorship.

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“Qatar cannot be allowed to sportswash its reputation. It is using the World Cup to enhance its international image.

“I did this protest to shine a light on Qatar’s human rights abuses against LGBT+ people, women, migrant workers and liberal Qataris. I am supporting their brave battle against tyranny.”

Prior to the 2018 World Cup, Tatchell was detained in Moscow whiile staging a protest against the treatment of gay people in the Russian republic of Chechnya.

Human Rights Watch on on Monday said security forces in Qatar arbitrarily arrested and abused LGBT Qataris as recently as last month.

A Qatari official said in a statement that HRW's allegations "contain information that is categorically and unequivocally false".

England manager Gareth Southgate said earlier this year that it's “horrible” that female and gay England fans fear travelling to the World Cup.

Australian footballer Josh Cavallo has said he's "very scared" to play at the World Cup after coming out as the first openly gay male footballer.

Over the summer World Cup chiefs said they have been given assurances that gay fans will not be persecuted when they visit the country in November.

A Uefa working party, including FA chief executive Mark Bullingham, travelled to Doha for a third scoping visit.

There have been suggestions that hotels might prevent gay couples from sharing rooms but Uefa said: “LGBTQI+ rights were discussed at length.

“Assurances were provided regarding fans being safely welcomed with rainbow flags, in line with previous statements welcoming everyone to Qatar and ensuring local culture and customs are respected. 

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Uefa added that meetings had been held with a number of agencies including Qatar’s ruling Supreme Committee and the country’s FA as well as human rights organisations.

Migrant workers told the Uefa group that they still needed additional legal support, shelters for abused workers and translation services to fill in official forms and access to information on rights.

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