Uganda gov't bans planned protests over polls

AP News
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Posted: Feb 26, 2011 6:42 AM
Uganda gov't bans planned protests over polls

Ugandan police said Saturday they will not allow the opposition to protest the re-election of longtime President Yoweri Museveni, saying such demonstrations would cause violence and destabilize the country.

Kale Kayihura, the inspector general of police, said the opposition had not met the legal requirements for the demonstrations to be permitted since it has not provided police with details of the venue, time and number of people expected in the protests.

Margaret Wokuri, a spokeswoman for a coalition of opposition parties, denied they were planning to cause chaos during the demonstrations.

"Our message is simple: People should come out and protest because this is an illegitimate government," she said. "The constitution provides for peaceful demonstrations as a means of expression. If people say they are going for peaceful demonstrations they are not breaking the law."

Official election results said Museveni won 68 percent of the vote. Kizza Besigye received 26 percent of the vote, election officials said.

On Thursday, Besigye called for peaceful demonstrations, claiming that the vote was rigged. International observers have cited irregularities in the elections but Ugandan officials have rejected those claims.

Museveni, who has ruled for 25 years, has said he will "catch and eat" his challenger and will jail anyone who attempts Egypt-style protests. Besigye was jailed after protesting his loss in the 2006 polls.