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Uganda's President Vows to 'Defeat' Protests


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

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

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni says he will "defeat" a series of deadly opposition protests, originally triggered by high food and fuel prices.

Museveni spoke Saturday in Nairobi, Kenya, a day after riots in Uganda's capital left at least two people dead and 120 others wounded.

Rioters burned tires and set up blockades in parts of Kampala Friday to protest the latest arrest of opposition leader Kizza Besigye. During the riot, police fired at protesters with live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas and arrested at least 360 people.

Authorities arrested Besigye on Thursday for the fourth time this month after security forces stopped his car in Kampala. Video showed police smashing the car window and spraying the opposition leader with pepper spray.

He was later released on bail and late Friday arrived in Kenya for medical treatment.

President Museveni said police used the pepper spray in self-defense after they had been sprayed first with the chemical.

Besigye has led a series of "walk-to-work" demonstrations to protest high food and fuel prices.

Previously, President Museveni warned that such protests would not be tolerated. But Saturday, he said that he had no problem for Besigye "either to walk to work or to walk as an exercise." However, he said Besigye needs to inform police about planned protests to avoid riots.

The president has blamed soaring food and fuel prices on poor weather and global economic factors.

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

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

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