News / Africa

Uganda Protests Against High Prices Continue

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Douglas Mpuga

Protests against soaring fuel and food prices in Uganda are entering their fourth week. Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets across the country in a “walk to work” campaign that began small but gained momentum when Ugandan security forces responded with violence.

What began as a series of peaceful demonstrations have turned increasingly bloody, with clashes between police and demonstrators leaving at least five dead, more than 100 injured and 700 in jail.

The government's use of police force against the protesters has already prompted local and international criticism of President Yoweri Museveni's actions.

The government says the demonstrations are illegal and are intended to disrupt the peace. It says they will not be tolerated.

The most prominent protester, opposition leader Kizza Besigye, has been arrested four times in the past three weeks. In one incident he was shot with a rubber bullet. Police have also used a gun and a hammer to smash the windows of his car. On one occasion they doused him with pepper spray and dragged him into custody. He was flown to Kenya for specialized hospital treatment.

This week hundreds of lawyers went on a three-day strike to protest against the violent crackdown.

“The government should take responsibility for the chaos and disruption that has taken place,” said Fred Golooba Mutebi, a political scientist and senior research fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research in Uganda.

If the government had reacted differently, he said, perhaps the protests would have stopped within a few days, “But the government’s decision to act in the savage way that it did only added fuel to what figuratively would have been a small fire.”

Mutebi speculated that President Museveni may feel he has a personal feud with Besigye and the analyst wondered if that could have something to do with the violence. “I didn’t see the security forces or even Museveni himself react as viciously towards other opposition leaders as they did towards Besigye.”

He said the demonstrators do not start the violence, which he said breaks out only when protesters are attacked by the police.

Now that lawyers have joined in the protests with a three-day strike, Mutebi said it is becoming a bigger issue about the conduct of the government itself – what he calls its tendency to abuse the law, use violence against unarmed civilians, and try to manipulate the judiciary.

“What we see is the beginning of coming together of a wide range of groups and forces against the Museveni government,” Mutebi said.

Citing Uganda’s history, Mutebi added, “It took a coalition of several forces to bring down the Idi Amin government, as it did for the [Milton] Obote government, and we are probably witnessing the beginning of a process that will pit the Museveni government against a much wider front of opposition forces.”

Although it is difficult to predict how long that will take, “it seems we have reached that territory now,” he said.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid