Protests are likely to take place in Kampala and Gulu in the coming days as tensions remain high surrounding the arrest earlier this month and upcoming trial of opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine. On Monday, August 27, Wine - along with 11 others arrested on related charges - was freed on a non-cash bail in Gulu while awaiting trial on treason charges. The trial is scheduled for Thursday, August 30 at Gulu's chief magistrate's court. A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected in the vicinity of the court as well as surrounding any related demonstrations in the coming days, particularly during the court hearing. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Protests calling for Bobi Wine's release have been ongoing since the politician (and popular musician) was arrested along with approximately 30 others on August 14 and charged with possession of illegal weapons after protesters threw stones at President Yoweri Museveni's convoy at a local election rally in Arua. Last week, military prosecutors dropped the illegal weapons charges against Wine, but a civilian court subsequently charged him with treason. According to Wine's lawyer, he was severely beaten while in custody and other opposition leaders have been arrested or blocked within their homes by police in recent days, sparking major tensions. Police clashed with demonstrators in several parts of Kampala on August 20, firing tear gas and live ammunition on protesters who had erected roadblocks to denounce the arrests.
Individuals in Uganda, particularly Kampala and Gulu, are advised to closely monitor the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and avoid discussing sensitive political topics in public.
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