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Uganda: Police Break Up Opposition Rally in Hoima

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Police Monday dispersed a gathering of opposition supporters in Hoima town in western Uganda.

Mr Ismail Kasule, the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) Bunyoro regional coordinator was due to launch his MP campaign manifesto for the Hoima city West constituency but heavily armed police stormed the venue and fired tear gas which dispersed the supporters.

Mr Kasule who engaged police in a verbal exchange was arrested by Police which detained him at Hoima central police station.

“Police is using excessive force to disrupt activities of peace-loving Ugandans who want change. But we shall not be intimidated. We shall continue pushing for our rights” Kasule told journalists shortly before his arrest.

Ms. Asinansi Nyakato, the joint opposition candidate for Hoima woman City MP decried police brutality ahead of the 2021 elections.

She said after the Electoral Commission releasing a road map for the 2021 elections, parties were allowed to conduct consultations and identify candidates.

“However, every attempt by the opposition to consult is disrupted by police but the same police doesn’t disrupt NRM gatherings,” Ms Nyakato said.

She claimed that police actions show that the 2021 elections will not be free and fair.

“You clearly see that police is partisan and targets opposition members and supporters,” she added.

Police later lobbed more tear gas canisters along the streets to disperse residents who were protesting the disruption of the opposition meeting.

The Albertine Regional Police spokesperson, Mr Julius Hakiza refuted allegations of Police brutality and bias.

“We act within the law. The opposition wanted to hold an illegal rally and procession,” Mr Hakiza said.

He said the opposition leaders had wanted to hold a procession from Kiryatete suburb to Duhaga at the FDC offices’ compound.

“We intercepted them but they wanted to become rowdy. We arrested Kasule and four others. The arrest is not political. We acted to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 infections,” he added.

He said people had started gathering without following standard operating procedures meant to prevent infections.

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