Ugandan police have arrested Kizza Besigye, the president of the country’s main opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), as he was preparing to lead an anti-government protest against spiraling living costs in the East African nation.
Besigye, a one-time advisor to President Yoweri Museveni, was meeting a number of senior opposition figures in an upmarket suburb of the capital Kampala on Thursday before the rally, which was set to focus on corruption and economic hardships.
Armed police intercepted the group as they were heading towards the city center. The police then fired teargas canisters before bundling the politicians into vans and hauling off the opposition leader into detention.
“We’re holding Besigye and others as a preventive measure because there was a likelihood of a breach of peace and chaos,” deputy police spokeswoman, Judith Nabakooba, said.
She added, “We’ll hold until we’re sure there is no more threat.”
Besigye has announced that he would step down as party leader to devote more time to organizing anti-government rallies.
He was arrested on several occasions last year. He was once injured and had to be hospitalized in neighboring Kenya, following violent clashes during a rally between Ugandan security forces and his supporters.
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