Kampala: Ugandan police said Tuesday that authorities have arrested more than 100 people suspected of involvement in a street protest last week that killed a policeman. Opposition politicians accused the president of
behaving like former Ugandan dictators.
Police and plainclothes security personnel on Saturday cordoned off a street in the Ugandan capital and then raided a
shopping centre for potential suspects. A policeman was hit
and killed by a rock as opposition politicians and their
supporters marched in Kampala last week, police said.
The case has proved highly divisive, with Ugandan
President Yoweri Museveni saying those responsible for the
killing would "pay dearly." Some in the opposition don`t
believe the official version of the death, and say the
policeman was instead killed by a stray bullet from a
Opposition politicians say the arrests, in which heavily
armed men invaded shops and dragged suspects to trucks as
sirens wailed, are reminiscent of past dictatorships.
They say the arrests recall the tactics preferred by the regimes of
former presidents Idi Amin and Milton Obote, whose soldiers were notorious for conducting ambitious swoops that inspired fear and often left a trail of rape and plunder.
"As activists for change, we are happy that we have
unmasked a dictator who was masquerading as a democrat," said
Ingrid Turinawe, an opposition politician who has been
arrested several times for participating in the opposition`s
"Walk to Work" protests. "People are now even being picked up
from their homes."
Police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba said the arrested
suspects had been screened and some released. She did not
reveal the charges those still in custody were likely to face.
She said less than 20 were still in detention.
Politicians who have been staging demonstrations say the
mass arrests are an attempt by the authorities to silence
growing opposition among urban residents disenchanted by
rising poverty and the high cost of living. Opposition
politicians have since last year been organising popular "Walk
to"Work" demonstrations, so called because those who
participate cannot afford public transportation.