Protest leader in court af­ter po­lice death

The Washington Times Daily - - World -

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.

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