Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing Foley execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One? (part 2)

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Russia targets McDonald's over tensions with West

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

  • Deadly street battles hit Ukrainian rebel stronghold

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

Africa

Riots spread after arrest of opposition leader

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-29

Deadly riots broke out in Kampala on Friday over the brutal arrest of opposition leader Kizza Besigye, marking the first time that the anti-government movement reaches the country's capital.

AP - Army troops and police fired live bullets at rioting demonstrators in downtown Kampala on Friday, the first time the Uganda’s growing protest movement had reached the country’s capital. Red Cross officials said at least two people were killed and 120 wounded.

Rioters burned tires in downtown streets as security forces fired tear gas and guns, and a Red Cross spokeswoman said 15 of the wounded and been hit by live bullets. Battles between protesters and police were also reported elsewhere around the country, including at Kasangati, just outside the capital, where the country’s top opposition leader lives.

The protests are the first serious demonstrations in sub-Saharan Africa since a wave of anti-government protests swept leaders in Tunisia and Egypt out of power. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has vowed repeatedly that his government will not be taken down by protests.

Red Cross spokeswoman Catherine Ntabadde said at least two people were killed and 120 people wounded. Ntabadde said at least 15 people had been wounded by gunfire.

Uganda police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba said the police were working to contain the demonstrations. She said she did not immediately have a casualty figure.

The breakout of violence came one day after a brutal takedown of the country’s top opposition politician, Kizza Besigye. Police cracked open the window of Besigye’s vehicle and doused him with tear gas at close range before bundling him into the back of a pickup truck and speeding off.

“They arrested him like a chicken thief. We cannot allow such things to continue. Museveni must go,” said Brown Ndese, one of the protesters.

Radio reports in Uganda quoted an aide to Besigye as saying that the opposition leader was in poor health and that arrangements were being made to fly him out of the country for treatment. Attempts to reach Besigye aides for comment failed.

Besigye has held five “walk to work” demonstrations to protest rising prices and what he calls a corrupt government. On Friday, demonstrators carried posters praising Besigye, and questioned why police needed to use violence to arrest him. Opposition members of parliament have demanded an explanation from the government over his treatment.

Nabakooba said previously that Besigye was arrested for not following police orders and for leading a chaotic demonstration that snarled traffic and saw his supporters hurl stones at passing vehicles.
Earlier this month Besigye was shot in the right hand by what he says was a rubber bullet fired by police. He now wears a thick white cast that reaches halfway up his right arm.

Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper reported on its website Friday that military forces and police fired live ammunition and tear gas at demonstrators in the eastern town of Mbale, some 200 miles (300 kilometers) outside Kampala. Demonstrators fought back with rocks.
The U.S. Embassy in Uganda condemned the escalation of violence and called on all protesters to obey the law and cease all destruction of property. The U.S. said senior leaders needed to meet to calm the situation.

“The U.S. Mission in Uganda also urges the Government of Uganda to respect the right of all citizens to peacefully express their views as enshrined by Uganda’s constitution. Above all, Ugandan authorities must avoid using excessive force against civilians in this situation.

Constructive dialogue is needed now,” the U.S. statement said.
Besigye came second in Uganda’s February presidential election to Museveni. It was his third straight loss to Museveni and threatened to end his political career. But Uganda has seen huge price spikes in food and fuel in recent months, giving Besigye _ and his “walk to work” protests _ a political resurrection.

Museveni, Uganda’s leader for the past 25 years, has vowed to crack down on the protests. Official returns showed him winning 68 percent of the February vote, though Besigye says those returns were falsified and that both he and Museveni got just under 50 percent.

The top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, said he spoke to Uganda’s foreign minister on Thursday.

“We have expressed our concern about what appears to be harassment of Dr. Besigye,” he said. “I have myself spoken to the Ugandan foreign minister about this and have urged that the Ugandan government act both in a responsible and civil fashion in dealing with the arrest of individuals attempting to carry out peaceful protests.”

Besigye told AP in an interview at his home last week that many Ugandans face a “crisis of survival,” that the health care system has broken down and that young people cannot find jobs. He said that Museveni’s government is terrified of the protest marches, the reason he has been arrested for walking toward the capital.
Besigye was the president’s personal physician before being dismissed for saying in 1999 the government was becoming a one-man dictatorship.

Uganda is a young country, with half its nearly 35 million citizens under 15. An estimated 1.2 million have HIV/AIDS. The average yearly income is just $1,200, though many here have hopes _ and fears _ over newly discovered oil that will soon be pumped. An oil curse has befallen several African countries, providing more incentive for corrupt leaders to remain in power in order to steal from public coffers.
 

Date created : 2011-04-29

  • UGANDA

    Ugandan opposition leader arrested for third time

    Read more

  • UGANDA

    Veteran Ugandan president extends 25-year rule

    Read more

  • UGANDA

    Ugandans vote in poll likely to extend Museveni's 25-year rule

    Read more

COMMENT(S)