Police disperse Ugandan protesters


Ugandan police fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration in the capital as protests against the beating of detained lawmakers continued for a second day.

Police spokesman Emilian Kayima said police deployed to stop a riot in a downtown Kampala market, adding violence broke out in at least three separate parts of the city.
“Some groups of youths participated in a riot and are being handled … we’re stopping the riot,” he said.
“Police intervened quickly together with the military to return calm and stabilise the situation,” he added. “We condemn the perpetrators of this violence.”

Footage on local television showed demonstrators setting up bonfires and barricades on Kampala streets and police and military personnel trying to remove roadblocks. Kayima said 45 people were arrested over the unrest.

Political tensions have been running high in Uganda since police arrested scores of people, including five opposition lawmakers, on suspicion of taking part in the stoning of a presidential convoy on August 13.

The incident happened during a campaign stop by President Yoweri Museveni for the ruling party candidate in a parliamentary by-election in the northern town Gulu.

Two lawmakers were badly beaten by security forces while detained, according to a lawyer for one. Government denies security personnel deliberately beat anyone.

Protesters and opposition supporters see the alleged mistreatment as part of a pattern of repression by Museveni’s government, an allegation it denies.

In power since 1986, Museveni is accused of stifling dissent through intimidation, beatings, detentions and prosecutions on trumped-up charges.

Critics say he is set to rule for life after parliament removed a constitutional age limit to bar him seeking re-election in 2021.

Museveni and his backers say he remains in office because of genuine mass support. He also enjoyed Western support for contributing to the fight against militant Islam, particularly through the Ugandan role in an African peacekeeping force in Somalia fighting al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab.