Following the arrest of Uganda presidential candidate Bobi Wine, police stated that violent protests erupted, resulting in the death of seven people in Kampala, Wednesday.
According to the Washington Post, authorities stated that supporters of the former pop star Wine, who became the leader of the opposition against the current President Yoweri Museveni, clashed with the security forces. Wine and Museveni are going against each other in the presidential election on January 14.
In a statement by police spokesman Fred Enanga, aside from the seven casualties from the late-night protests, at least 45 people were also injured.
Wine, a singer and whose real name is Robert Kyagulangi, remains in police custody after being accused of violating the imposed coronavirus protocols during his campaign rallies.
Meanwhile, Enanga stated that the capital has returned to its calm state despite several gangs’ attempts to disrupt the said peace by burning tires and setting up barricades to block roads. The police, however, noted that they already have everything under control.
On Wednesday, the Red Cross stated that it had already treated more than 30 people following the police and the protesters’ violent encounter. They also noted that out of the 30, 11 of the victims sustained gunshot wounds, Yahoo! News reported.
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The 38-year-old pop star-turned-politician has long antagonized Museveni’s administration through his catchy pop songs, which discussed corruption and social injustice. It was also through his songs that he gained his widespread following.
Wine is viewed by many Ugandans, especially by the youth, as one of their role models. He has been championed by many as someone who can help their country, which has been deep in poverty and unemployment.
On the other hand, 76-year-old Museveni is one of the longest-serving leaders in Africa. He was a former rebel who came into power back in 1986.
Due to being a target by the administration, Wine has repeatedly been arrested by the police. His most recent arrest happened on November 3, just after he filed his candidacy. His concerts have also been banned, and most of his rallies have been broken by the police with teargas.
Until early Thursday, the situation in Kampala has remained tense as military and police were a constant presence in the area. The city’s center has also been covered with debris, rocks, and burned tires in the aftermath of the protests, AFP reported.
In addition, some of Wine’s supporters camped outside the Nalufenya prison where he was being held by the police in eastern Uganda.
Aside from Wine, one of the opposition’s parliamentary candidates, Muhammad Ssegirinya, had also been detained after he posted a message claiming that Wine collapsed inside the detention center and that he was being flown out of the country.
In addition, Forum for Democratic Change candidate Patrick Oboi Amuriat was also taken in by the police, but he was immediately released.
In light of the recent events, Henry Tumukunde and Gregory Mugisha Muntu, two other candidates running for Uganda’s presidency, have called off their campaigns. According to them, they will halt their campaigns until the electoral body of the country prevails over the “police brutality” against the opposition.
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