Protests rock Uganda over opposition leader’s arrest


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Ugandans have taken to streets in the capital Kampala to protest the arrest of Bobi Wine, a musician-turned-politician contesting for the president next year.

Bobi Wine, the presidential candidate of the National Unity Platform (NUP), whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was arrested by police officers while addressing a mini rally in Luuka district of eastern Uganda, local media outlet, The Observer reported.

It was not clear why he was arrested.

A NUP coordinator, Moses Bigirwa, said the police “are still tightlipped on the circumstances surrounding Wine’s arrest.”

Prior to his arrest, the newspaper said police had used teargas to disperse thousands of Bobi Wine’s supporters who converged at the district headquarters.

In the heat of the chaos they took him away alongside two journalists who were recording his arrest.

He is being detained at Nalufenya police station in neighbouring Jinja city, the newspaper said.

Following his arrest, protests which first broke out in Ninja, had spread to other parts of the country including Kampala, Masaka, Hoima, Gulu with his supporters lighting old car tyres and blocking major roads in the cities.

Many criticised the police for interrupting the superstar-turned-politician’s campaign illegally.

A NUP supporter, Latif Nsubuga, reportedly told the newspaper that “it is unfair for police and the military to restrict him from holding his campaign rallies while the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) continues to hold processions and rallies.”

As many took to streets to condemn the “illegal” arrest of their choice candidate on Wednesday, police reportedly shot at protesters.

But a regional police spokesperson, Julius Hakiza, said the police were forced to fire teargas and live bullets to disperse the rowdy supporters and stop them from causing mayhem in the city centre.

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Bobi Wine is contesting against President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power for more than three decades, first as a rebel fighter in 1986.

Critics say Mr Museveni’s re-election bid will plunge the country into further autocratic rule.

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