Protest leader in court after police death
KAMPALA | Uganda’s top opposition leader pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of convening an unlawful assembly in a case stemming from the killing of a policeman in violent street clashes last week.
In tense scenes that threatened to turn violent, heavily armed police blocked Kizza Besigye’s supporters from following him to a magistrate’s court.
Mr. Besigye was charged alongside some of his associates, two of whom were arrested for attempting to walk to court and then ferried on a police truck to the courtroom.
Mr. Besigye and the co-accused pleaded not guilty and were released on bail.
Mr. Besigye and a group of opposition politicians calling themselves activists for change have since last year been staging demonstrations against a government they accuse of mismanaging the economy.
Ugandan police say such political demonstrations disrupt businesses, and they often use tear gas and force to break up the demonstrations.
The so-called “Walk to Work” rallies, which are meant to highlight the rising cost of living in Uganda, have tapped a vein of resentment among urban residents, who see the government as corrupt and out of touch with ordinary people.