One dead at protest against extending Ugandan president's rule

Reuters News
|
Posted: Oct 18, 2017 1:13 PM

By Elias Biryabarema

KAMPALA (Reuters) - At least one person died as police fired bullets and teargas to disperse a crowd of opposition supporters rallying on Wednesday against plans to extend Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's rule.

Police have broken up a series of protests in recent days against a bill to let the 73-year-old president stand again in 2021 elections - the constitution currently sets an age limit for candidates at 75.

Rights organizations and activists have criticized moves by several other long-serving African rulers, notably in Rwanda, Burundi and Burkina Faso, to stay in power by extending term limits.

Police spokesman Elly Maate said one person died after officers fired bullets in the air to disperse a crowd gathering for what he called "an illegal rally" near a stadium in the southwestern town of Rukungiri.

Opposition party member Ingrid Turinawe and a local government official both said two men died.

Turinawe said a bullet also struck a vehicle carrying opposition leader Kizza Besigye. He was not hurt but an image showed a gaping hole in the rear window of his vehicle.

A Museveni-allied legislator introduced the bill to remove the presidential age limit last month.

Museveni met MPs backing the measure last week and for the first time openly expressed his support for the legislation, several local media outlets reported.

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Andrew Heavens)