Police battle Uganda protesters

POLICE IN Uganda have fired tear gas and bullets at crowds of opposition supporters for the second day running. The protesters believe that the treason charges against opposition leader Kizza Besigye are designed to stop him from challenging the president in next year’s elections.

Dr Besigye returned from four years of exile last month to huge crowds of cheering supporters and is due to appear in the High Court on charges of treason and rape. If found guilty of treason, he and 22 co-accused could face the death penalty. The day after his arrest battles began in the capital, Kampala.

There is a growing concern about the political climate in Uganda, as burnt-out cars and looted kiosks can still be seen on the streets. Earlier this year, the UK and other donors withheld aid to Uganda after the constitution was amended to allow President Yoweri Museveni to run for a third term. Police chief Major General Kale Kayihura denied that the charges were designed to stop Dr Besigye contesting the elections. “That is absolute rubbish. This has nothing to do with partisan politics.”