In an update given by the Ugandan police and Red Cross, it was reported that three people died and at least 34 were injured, including with gun shot wounds, in protests against the arrest of Ugandan presidential candidate and pop star Bobi Wine on Wednesday.
Wine, whose real name is said to be Robert Kyagulanyi, has emerged as the strongest contender against President Yoweri Museveni, 76, in the country’s presidential election which is to be held on January 14.
Police via a statement explained that they had detained Wine while he was campaigning in the country’s east for violating anti-coronavirus measures.
They accused him of involvement “in the massive mobilisation of unauthorised assemblies and processions amidst the threat of COVID-19 in Uganda.”
After news of Wine’s detention broke across the country, violent protests immediately erupted in the capital Kampala and several other major towns.
In multiple parts of Kampala young people lit fires and erected barricades on roads, trying to block traffic and demanding the release of Wine. Squads of police and military personnel used teargas and live bullets to try to disperse the protesters, witnesses told Reuters and local television footage showed.
Police said three people had died during the protest and 34 were injured. The Uganda Red Cross said it had evacuated at least 11 people who had suffered gun shot wounds to hospitals.
“The violent demonstrators set up illegal roadblocks and burnt tyres, violently attacked law enforcement personnel in the city centre” Police said, adding that some protesters had also engaged in looting and vandalism .
Meanwhile, Wine had earlier announced via his twitter account that the police had broken into his vehicle and forcefully detained him.
He tweeted, “The price of freedom is high but we shall certainly overcome.”
Ever since he expressed his intention to replace Museveni, Wine has won a large following, especially among young people in the east African country.
According to the opinion of many supporters, they were drawn to him by the criticism of Museveni’s government woven into his lyrics. Others opine that as a young leader he is better positioned to tackle the challenges they face.
On the day he was nominated early this month, a squad of military and police personnel used metallic tools to break into his vehicle. He was subsequently detained briefly and police used teargas to disperse his supporters.