Political unrest turns bloody in Uganda

April 30, 2011 at 7:28 AM
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KAMPALA, Uganda, April 30 (UPI) -- Cost-of-living protests in Uganda have escalated and led to at least two civilian deaths as police vowed to use live ammunition to restore peace.

The unrest has been simmering for about two weeks since opposition leader Kizza Besigye declared a "walk to work" uprising to protest high gas and transportation costs, The Guardian reported Saturday.

Besigye is a medical doctor who lost to longtime President Yoweri Museveni in a February election Besigye claims was rigged, the BBC said.

Museveni has banned public demonstrations, but by Friday night, local media said two people had been killed by police officers, some 120 had been injured and nearly 400 people arrested.

Besigye was also injured when police smashed his car window and burned his eyes with pepper spray, the BBC said. Despite being arrested, he was allowed to travel to Kenya for medical treatment for his eyes, the reports said.

The Guardian said the anti-government sentiment is being helped by postings to the Internet Facebook and YouTube sites, which Musaveni unsuccessfully tried to block.

The reports said the unrest has spread outward from Kampala and many roads were blocked by piles of burning tires as protesters pelted vehicles with stones.

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