I was looking forward to celebrating the New Year in style. I opted to go to Sheraton Hotel to watch their famous fireworks. I left home in Bweyogerere at about 11:15pm but due to the traffic jam, I got to Yusuf Lule Road at about 10 minutes to midnight. As I approached Sheraton, I found that the road had been cordoned off by police. Hence we could not drive through but park nearby and walk past the police.
Instead of entering Sheraton gardens, I opted to stand along the road (the area between the Sheraton gate and the road towards State House Nakasero) with many other revellers, because I knew that getting in, would mean waiting in the long queue to be frisked. All was well, everyone was happy. I and a few others opted to stand at the sidewalk on the road that leads to the entrance of Nakasero State House. Less than two meters away were policemen guarding the road that leads to the State House and no one dared go near them.
When the fireworks started, suddenly, one of the policemen wearing blue camouflage uniform with MPPU on his shirt pushed me off the sidewalk without warning! I calmly told him that all he had to do was ask me to move, not push me. He hurled insults at me and even threatened to beat me!
He wanted us off the side walk but did he have to push us? Before we knew it, another group of about five policemen came. One of them shouted to the rest saying, “Clear this rubbish (referring to us)!” They held huge canes threatening us until we moved about five meters away.
All we were doing was watch fireworks, if he wanted us to move, did he have to call us rubbish? And did they have to hold huge sticks? I left wondering why such angry people are deployed on the street armed with guns! I was pushed away for no reason and called rubbish!
Interestingly, there were about 10 Chinese standing about a meter away from these MPPU policemen but they were no asked to move.
It’s possible that most of the riots are escalated by the way policemen roughly handle people! Police brutality should stop. Perhaps they need to take peopl management trainings! How do you threaten innocent people. Can’t you simply ask them to walk away and if they refuse, then you apply other measures? Is the President comfortable having such brutal police who guard him and violate citizens’ rights.
Sara Madunduli, firstname.lastname@example.org