Uganda police fire tear gas in hospital at protest

Rioters threw stones at police during a protest over rising gas prices.

Kasangati: Police officers fired tear gas into a hospital after rioters threw stones at them during a political protest over rising gas prices on Thursday, officials said. Demonstrations broke out in several locations across Uganda.

A hospital worker in the town of Kasangati, just outside Uganda`s capital of Kampala, said patients were affected and that some mothers moved sick children from their beds to get away from the gas. The worker, Mary Nabu, wiped tears from her eyes from the gas as she spoke.

The skirmish broke out after police surrounded opposition politician Kizza Besigye, who was walking to work to protest high gas prices. Ugandan youths then allegedly began harassing the police.

Police officer Ronald Okello said the youths ran into the nearby hospital when the police tried to disperse them, and that they began throwing rocks from the medical facility. Okello said police then fired the tear gas.

Besigye was arrested on Monday, along with several members of parliament, during a similar march to protest high fuel and food prices. The police called it an illegal demonstration. He was taken away by authorities again on Thursday.

Besigye is Uganda`s top opposition politician. He took second place in Uganda`s February Presidential Election to President Yoweri Museveni.

Uganda on Thursday saw protests in at least four other cities. West of Kampala, in Mbarara, motorcycle taxi drivers used their bikes to block the road.

The inspector general of police, Kale Kayihura, called the protests illegal and said police would arrest those who got involved.

The youth who surrounded Besigye chanted slogans about how the protests in Tunisia and Egypt led to new governments. More than a dozen were arrested.

Bureau Report