Thursday April 14 2011

WALK TO WORK CAMPAIGN: Bwaise in flames as police,residents fight running street battles

A man injured during the walk to work demonstration pleads for medical assistance.

A man injured during the walk to work demonstration pleads for medical assistance. Photo by Patience Ahimbisibwe 

All roads leading into and out of Bwaise, a city suburb, are closed to traffic, disconnecting access to greater northern Uganda.

Panicky traders hurriedly close shops as angry residents torch vehicle tyres and light bonfires in the busy trading centre, blocking flow of motorised traffic on Gulu highway.

Our reporter Patience Ahimbisibwe says the only safe place is holding behind police lines.

“It is too much,” she says of the chaos where security forces are firing live bullets and blasting teargas to get the spiraling situation under control.

She says she saw one person bleeding profusely being carried away, most likely to Mulago Hospital, and is not sure if he was hit by a bullet or teargas canister. “I don’t know whether he will survive,” she says.

Residents are using timber for making furniture crafts in nearby workshops in the city suburb to set fires on the streets.

Police now relying on water cannons to quell the blaze, but our reporter says whenever they put out one; activists quickly light up another in a separate location.

Bwaise, an opposition stronghold, is a few kilometers away from Kasangati township of Wakiso District where opposition leader, Dr Kizza Besigye, is still holed up in a roadside trench, resisting police arrest.

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