Alertes de sécurité

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18 nov. 2020 | 12h05 UTC

Police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters in Kampala November 18

Uganda Alerte de sécurité

Police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at opposition protesters in Kampala on November 18; avoid protests and large gatherings

TIMEFRAME expected from 18/11/2020, 12h00 until 20/11/2020, 11h59 (Africa/Kampala). COUNTRY/REGION Uganda

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Event

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters gathered in the Kiseka Market area of downtown Kampala on Wednesday, November 18. There are unconfirmed reports that police also used live ammunition against protesters in the capital, allegedly causing fatalities. Protesters had gathered in Kampala in support of opposition presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi (known popularly as Bobi Wine), who was arrested in Luuka district (Eastern Uganda region) on Wednesday. He had been scheduled to address his supporters but police accused Kyagulanyi of breaching coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions on gatherings of more than 200 people. He is currently being detained at Nalufenya police station in Jinja district.

Further protests in Kampala and across Uganda are possible in the coming hours and days over Kyagulanyi's arrest and subsequent clashes between opposition demonstrators and security forces are likely to occur.

Context

Political tensions in Uganda have been increasing ahead of the presidential election in 2021, after President Yoweri Museveni pushed through controversial constitutional reforms in December 2017 to remove the presidential age limit in a move widely seen as paving the way for him to stand for a sixth term in office. The debate around the proposed constitutional reforms was bitter with infighting within the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), regular protests and several opposition leaders being arrested. However, Museveni and his supporters, backed by a closely-aligned and powerful military, have largely succeeded in suppressing opposition to his candidacy within the NRM.

Having come to prominence during the constitutional reform campaign, Robert Kyagulanyi has become a major opposition talisman following his move into politics in 2017. The outspoken critic of Museveni has been arrested multiple times by security forces on charges related to anti-government protests, with arrests sparking unrest amongst his populist support base. After announcing his bid to run for president in the 2021 general election in 2019, he assumed leadership of the National Unity, Reconciliation and Development Party and revamped it as the National Unity Platform, becoming the party's de facto presidential candidate.

Advice

Those in Kampala and across Uganda are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate a heightened security presence, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.

 

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