Uganda opposition leader arrested for walking

AP News

10/31/2011 4:34:10 AM - AP News

Authorities arrested the leader of Uganda's political opposition on Monday while he was walking on the road with his supporters, a police spokeswoman said.

Opposition politician Kizza Besigye has been leading "walk to work protests" this year and the protest marches often end with his arrest. President Yoweri Museveni has been in power 25 years, and Besigye and others accuse his regime of incompetence and corruption.

Some of the marches have turned violent with protesters throwing rocks. Police have responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, and nine people were killed earlier this year.

Anne Mugisha, a top Besigye aide, labeled Monday's arrest "an abduction" because she said Besigye was taken to an unknown location.

"He was taken to Kasangati police station. From there he was pushed into a vehicle which sped away very fast. So to us it was more of an abduction than an arrest," Mugisha said.

Police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba, though, said Besigye was taken to the criminal investigations department of the police headquarters in nearby Kampala, Uganda's capital. Nabakooba said that Besigye was walking along the road with more than 20 people and was thus disturbing traffic.

"He walked with over 20 people including journalists from his home. Police stopped him when he was on the road and advised him not to walk with such a big number of people on the road because it disturbs traffic but Besigye insisted that he had to walk to wherever he wanted," she said.