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Uganda Lawyers to Strike Over Crackdown


Rioters sit on the back of a police truck after their arrest in Kampala, Uganda, after riots broke out, April 29, 2011

Rioters sit on the back of a police truck after their arrest in Kampala, Uganda, after riots broke out, April 29, 2011

Ugandan lawyers are set to begin a three-day strike Wednesday, to protest the government's treatment of demonstrators complaining about high food and fuel prices.

The head of the Uganda Law Society Tuesday accused police of using excessive force on the protesters. Society president Bruce Kyerere also questioned the conduct of the courts handling the cases of protesters who were arrested.

Ugandan police have used live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas on protesters. During the last three weeks, at least eight people have been killed and more than 250 wounded. Police have arrested hundreds.

Opposition leader Kizza Besigye, who is leading the demonstrations, has been arrested four times this month.

The lawyer's group criticized a magistrate who refused to hear Besigye's bail request saying she was too busy with other work.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has defended police actions and has vowed to stop the protests. He blames Uganda's inflation on drought and rising oil prices.

Besigye has led Uganda's opposition for a decade. He has lost three straight presidential elections to Museveni, who has ruled Uganda since 1986.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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