KAMPALA, Uganda, Oct 04 – Ugandan police arrested the main opposition leader Kizza Besigye Thursday, as they clamped down on attempted demonstrations ahead of independence celebrations next week.
“He was arrested and we still have him and are interrogating him, but we have not yet charged him,” said police spokesman Ibin Ssenkumbi, adding Besigye was detained for participating in an “unlawful society”.
Police fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse thousands of opposition supporters who had flooded the streets of Kampala to escort the politician as he toured the capital in his car, an AFP photographer said.
The AFP photographer later had his camera smashed as police assaulted him when he tried to access the police station where Besigye was being held.
This is the second time this week that Besigye has been detained by police, as the opposition tries to relaunch a wave of protests ahead of Uganda’s celebration of 50 years of independence on October 9.
Besigye was held briefly on Monday as he tried to launch the demonstrations but was later released without charge.
He has been repeatedly arrested and released in the past two years during a series of protests against the high cost of living.
Last year at least 10 people were killed by security forces after they cracked down brutally on opposition protests against soaring food and fuel prices.