Ugandan police fire tear gas, rubber bullets at opposition protestors | News | DW | 15.02.2016
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Ugandan police fire tear gas, rubber bullets at opposition protestors

Violent clashes between Ugandan police and opposition supporters have turned deadly. The clashes comes just days ahead of national elections.

Police in Uganda fired tear gas and rubber bullets to forcefully break up a crowd of opposition supporters on Monday, killing at least one and injuring several others. The violent outbreak has raised tensions ahead of the country's presidential elections on Thursday.

"Police can confirm one person died during the confusion today," Kampala police spokesman Patrick Onyango told news agency AFP, without giving further details.

DW's Ole Tangen was also on the scene in the capital Kampala when police began firing tear gas at the protesters.

Supporters of opposition candidate Kizza Besigye hurled rocks at police and erected street barricades near Uganda's Makerere University. According to police, Besigye defied orders to drive a less crowded route to the university, where he had planned to hold a rally, leading police to forcefully quell the crowd.

"I have seen people shot although we're yet to know how many exactly," said Ingrid Turinawe, a senior official from Besigye's Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party. "Many people (were) on the road bleeding, the situation is still very tense."

Besigye was also briefly detained by police on Monday.

There has been a significant rise in the number of police deployed within Kampala - viewed as an opposition stronghold - ahead of Thursday's elections. Critics of veteran President Yoweri Museveni are concerned the military will be used to intimidate those who support the opposition during and after the elections.

Seven opposition candidates are hoping to deny Museveni a fifth presidential term. Recent polls show that Museveni is in a tight race with Besigye, who promises to run a more efficient government.

Uganda has struggled to have a peaceful transfer of power since the African nation's independence from Great Britain in 1986. Museveni, himself, came to power by using force in 1986 and has threatened to "smash" those who threaten national security.

rs/kms (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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