KAMPALA (Reuters) – The Ugandan police burned tear gas on Monday to disperse a demonstration in the capital as protests against the beating of the illegal lawmaker continued for a second day.
Police spokesman Emilian Kayima said the police used to stop an uprising in a market in Kampala, adding that violence had broken out in at least three different parts of the city.
"Some groups of youths have participated in an uprising and they are being treated … we stop the turmoil," he said.
"The police quickly intervened with the military to stay calm and stabilize the situation," he added. "We condemn the perpetrators of this violence."
Demonstrators were shown on local television demonstrating bonfires and barricades on the Kampala streets, as well as police and military personnel trying to clear the roadblocks. Kayima said 45 people were arrested because of the riots.
Political tension in Uganda has been high since police arrested numerous people, including five opposition MPs, on suspicion of involvement in the stoning of a convoy on 1
The incident occurred during a campaign by President Yoweri Museveni for the ruling party candidate in a parliamentary by-election in the northern city of Gulu.
According to one lawyer, two of the lawmakers were severely beaten by security forces during their detention. The government denies that the security personnel deliberately beat someone.
Opposition protesters and supporters see the alleged mistreatment as part of a pattern of repression by Museveni's government, a claim she denies.
Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, is accused of suppressing dissent through intimidation, beatings, detentions, and criminal charges against fabricated charges.
Critics say he will rule for life after the parliament has lifted a constitutional age limit that would prevent him from being re-elected in 2021.
Museveni and his supporters say he remains in office for real mass support. He has also enjoyed the support of the West in contributing to the fight against militant Islam, in particular through the Ugandan role in an African peacekeeping force in Somalia fighting al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab.
Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Edited by Maggie Fick and Jon Boyle