Uganda’s Bobi Wine Briefly Detained After Leading Street Protest

Ugandan police Monday briefly detained opposition leader Bobi Wine as he led opposition lawmakers and supporters in a demonstration.  Wine’s National Unity Platform party was protesting the arrest and disappearance of hundreds of supporters. At midday, under scorching heat in downtown Kampala, Bobi Wine, together with a few legislators and supporters, began marching to protest the alleged abduction, torture and murder of his supporters.Wine and his National Unity Platform party say more than 600 of their supporters are missing and are demanding they be released unconditionally or be produced in court if they are facing charges.The party says three other NUP supporters were murdered in the run-up to this year’s elections.  Authorities say the deaths were accidental. Elbows intertwined Monday as the marchers moved towards the constitutional square, and crowds gathered upon seeing the musician turned politician, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi.  National Unity Platform party President Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, was being arrested at the Constitutional square after a street protest against abductions and torture, March 15, 2021. (Halima Athumani/VOA)Confronted by the police, Wine and his team raised placards calling for the release of their arrested colleagues. Together with the crowds, they chanted their message before police moved in to arrest Wine.Kampala Metropolitan Deputy police spokesperson Lucas Owoyesigire spoke to VOA.“Him (Wine) and a few people decided to have a procession, that is of course illegal,” Owoyesigire said. “They were briefly detained and later on driven to their homes of residence. They’ve just arrived there so let them be patient. We shall leave the place when we feel everything is normal.”After Wine’s brief arrest, the police used tear gas and fired bullets into the air to disperse the growing crowds around the Central Police station. The army’s anti-terrorism unit drove around some city spots, with other military officers doing foot patrols.On Sunday night, President Museveni accused the NUP of massively cheating, intimidating voters, and attacking members of the president’s NRM party during the January 14 elections.He also accused the party of attempting to disrupt his inauguration.  “The opposition have been again planning that they will stop the swearing in of the president,” Museveni said. “They won’t, because anybody who is planning that, it’s criminal.  The security forces will go for him or her.”David Lewis Rubongoya, the National Unity Platform Secretary General, refutes these accusations.”It’s laughable, Museveni is very hypocritical, how can he even say such a thing. You heard him say that we rigged the elections,” Rubongoya said. “Certainly, there holds no water whatsoever.”The NUP has previously accused Museveni of rigging the presidential vote to ensure re-election and extend his 35-year stay in power.

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