Police clashed with demonstrators in several parts of Kampala on Monday, August 20, firing tear gas on protesters erecting roadblocks to denounce the recent arrests and alleged beatings of five opposition lawmakers. Security forces reportedly cordoned off areas of the city for several hours on Monday; gunfire was also reported in the capital. The protests initially broke out in Kampala and other areas (including Mityana) on Sunday, August 19, with protesters erecting barricades on streets and police attempting to disperse protesters with tear gas and live ammunition. Dozens of demonstrators have been arrested in the protests as of Monday.
Similar protests are expected in Kampala and elsewhere in Uganda in the coming days. A heightened security presence and traffic disruptions are expected near related demonstrations. Additional clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Security forces arrested 33 people on August 15 after demonstrators threw stones at President Yoweri Museveni's convoy in Arua (Northern region) during the August 13 parliamentary by-election. Among those arrested include popular opposition politicians Kasiano Wadri, Robert Kyagulanyi (commonly known as Bobi Wine), Francis Zaake, Paul Mwiru, and Gerald Karuhanga. The government has charged the 33 suspects with treason for allegedly throwing stones at Museveni's vehicle. On August 16, opposition members accused security forces of beating and torturing the legislators, including Wine. However, the government has rejected the accusations and said that some of the suspects were wounded during the chaos in Arua.
Individuals in Uganda, particularly in Kampala and Mityana, are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and avoid talking about sensitive political topics in public.
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