Uganda: Police Blocks FDC Rally in Lira Town

The police on Saturday blocked the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party rally in Lira town.

The rally was planned to take place at Mayor's Garden. Several heavily armed security personnel who included the police and army were deployed at the venue as early as 6 am.

Anti-riot police personnel armed with teargas canisters, AK-47 rifles and UPDF soldiers intercepted the FDC team led by the former presidential candidate Rtd Col Kizza Besigye from Obote Avenue as he attempted to access the venue.

Before they were intercepted, police fired both teargas and live bullets along Produce Line road in Lira town to disperse a rowdy group of youth who wanted to demonstrate against the actions of the police.

Soon after they were intercepted, Besigye and his team were escorted out of Lira town with two police patrol pick-up trucks carrying anti-riot personnel and the army.

Their convoy was escorted up to the border between Lira and Kole districts. Besigye who earlier held a closed-door meeting in Dokolo and in Lira town before he was blocked by the security, was meant of address a public rally at the Mayor's Garden and also preside over the swearing in ceremony of members of his 'People's Government.'

Lira district police commander, George Obia said the rally was not sanctioned by the inspector general of police. Early in the day, Ogongson Otyama Ogong, the Lira district FDC party chairperson said they had written to IGP Martins Okoth Ochola about their planned rally in Lira town.

Opposition and police continue to fight over the and interpretation and implementation of the Public Order Management Act (POMA). Whereas police insists permission has to be sought and granted first, the opposition insists they just have to notify police about their public gatherings.

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