In Uganda, opponent Bobi Wine was released on Friday, November 20, after two days in police custody. He was arrested on Wednesday while fighting for the presidential election in January 2021.
The announcement of his arrest sparked protests on Wednesday which were violently suppressed by the security forces. According to a recent police report, there are 37 dead and more than 45 seriously injured. Violence is condemned by civil society organizations.
The campaign for the presidential election has just begun and several dozen deaths have already been registered. Security forces are accused of firing live ammunition to disperse the crowd.
For Henry Muguzy of the Alliance for the Supervision of Political Campaigns, the level of violence is higher this year than in previous campaigns. “We have had violence before the election before, but the violence we are witnessing today is simply unthinkable. In the past, the army used sticks, batons, police tear gas. But today we have seen citizens targeted and shot dead on the street. Women, innocent men, some who had nothing to do with violence. ”
This activist is also concerned about the impunity with which the police suppressed the demonstrations. “It is not just the police, there is also the army that shot at people,” testifies Henry Muguzy. And we also saw men dressed in civilian clothes swaning guns in the street and firing into the air. It had never been seen before. And all this in a climate of total impunity. The head of state said nothing, condemned nothing. Instead, he indicated that aggregation will continue if the protests do not end. It’s really very worrying. ”
The repression is shocking, according to Oryem Nyeko of Human Rights Watch, especially as the regime relies on the health crisis. “Since March, security forces have used Covid’s apology to suppress the opposition. This is repeated every month. Brutal arrests, assault. And each time, this repression is directed at the opposition. There are only opposition meetings that are spread with tear gas under the pretext of the health crisis and never the meetings with power. ”
The opponent Bobi Wine has already been arrested twice this month. Several opposition leaders have also announced that they will suspend their campaign to protest these repeated arrests.