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Ugandan police use tear gas and arrest opposition supporters

Uganda police used tear gas and live rounds to break up a gathering of opposition supporters in the southwestern town of Rukungiri on Monday reports Reuters.

Patrick Onyango, a spokesman for the police, reported that they had arrested 15 people from the Forum For Democratic Change (FDC), Uganda’s largest opposition party, for allegedly staging an illegal meeting.

He further stated: “we used force that was necessary to match the level of resistance from the offenders”.

Ronald Muhinda, an aide to opposition leader Kizza Besigye, released footage on Facebook during which he stated that the FDC supporters were prohibited from attending a fundraising meeting and thanksgiving event. The police further blocked Besigye at his home.

Reuters notes that Uganda's public order laws enabled the police the power to ban public gathers for a variety of reasons which critics note is used to shut down opposition to President Yoweri Museveni. President Museveni has been in power since 1986 making one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders and it is expected he will seek re-election in 2021 during the next general election.

Museveni would not have been able to reelection in 2021 were it not for the removal of the age cap from the constitution last year.

See more from Reuters here.