Bloomberg News

Uganda’s Main Opposition Leader Held by Police Over Protest

November 01, 2011

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Ugandan police are holding main opposition leader Kizza Besigye at a station near his home after he was arrested today while attempting to participate in the so- called walk-to-work protest, his party said.

Besigye, leader of the Forum for Democratic Change, is being held at the Kasangati Police Station, 17 kilometers (11 miles) north of Kampala, Anne Mugisha, the party’s deputy secretary for international affairs, said by phone from the capital, Kampala.

“They are just holding him at the station without charging him or taking him to court,” she said. “It appears they may release him later without any charge.” Ibin Ssekumbi, the police spokesman for Kampala Metropolitan region, didn’t answer a phone call seeking comment.

At least 11 people died and more than 480 were injured during protests in April and May over rising costs, according to the Uganda Red Cross. Police fired tear gas in downtown Kampala on Oct. 17 to break up renewed demonstrations.

Besigye was under house arrest at his home from Oct. 18 till Oct. 27, when a magistrate’s court ruled that the confinement was unconstitutional. Police had surrounded the politician’s home, blocking his exit, after they arrested him during an Oct. 18 attempt to participate in the protests.

Inflation in the East African nation surged to an 18-year high of 30.5 percent this month. Uganda’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 4 percentage points on Oct. 4.

--Editors: Ben Holland, Karl Maier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Ojambo in Kampala at fojambo@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.


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