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Malawians participate in protest marches against abortion and homosexuality

Malawians across major cities today participated in protest marches against alleged proposals by the government to legalise abortion and homosexuality in the country. Various religious groups participated in the protest, which also attracted members of the Rastafari faith. Numerous images of the protest shared on social media show people carrying pro-life placards and anti-gay banners.

Malawians across major cities today participated in protest marches against alleged proposals by the government to legalise abortion and homosexuality in the country.

Dubbed the Citizen March for Life and Family the marches were reportedly spearheaded by the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) and the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM).

Various religious groups took part in the protest marches, which also attracted members of the Rastafari faith.

According to MaraviPost, the pro-life marches, were held under the theme, ‘Lighting the Candle’,

but the government denies that there are plans to decriminalise homosexuality, and allow abortion

In a statement the Minister of Information and Communications Technology Malisen Ndau reportedly said Malawi Law Commission, only compiled a report, with recommendations for government to develop a new law on abortion.

However, the recommendations have not been adopted by government.

Numerous images of the protest shared on social media show people carrying pro-life placards and anti-gay banners.

Homosexuality remains a hugely controversial and divisive issue in Malawi, and the country remains  strongly anti-homosexual, and same sex-sex relationships are viewed by many as “unAfrican” and going against religious and cultural morals.

Read: Bust the myths: World marks Global Day of Action for Safe and Legal Abortions

Although Malawi has laws criminalising homosexuality, last year, the government announced it had imposed a temporary ban on anti-homosexual laws pending a decision on whether to repeal the legislation. President Peter Mutharika has previously said the people will decide on whether homosexuality should be legalised.

Only a few African countries have decriminalised same-sex relationships in the past few years, including Mozambique, Lesotho (legalised in 2012) and more recently Seychelles. In the majority of African countries the issue remains contentious and punishable by law.

Abortion also  remains a criminal offence in numerous countries across the globe and many women and girls die each year from unsafe abortions.

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