The pressure group spearheading the walk-to-work campaign has criticised the police for its handling of Thursday’s protests and attacked the government for its lack of response to the clashes between protestors and security.
“Like it has become the custom of the Ugandan partisan police, they have descended on non-violent freely walking Ugandans,” Mr Mathias Mpuuga, the Coordinator for Action-for-Change (A4C) said in a statement.
A4C says the voluntary and peaceful protests by the thousands of Ugandans against the rising cost of fuel and living in the country deserves a “plausible and acceptable response to the issues we raised at the founding of our activities. Instead of offering intimidation and inconsequential statements not related to the immediate need by the government to work on the welfare of suffering Ugandans.”
The government has denied any control over the rising cost of living, saying the problem is a result of international market fluctuations. They have also maintained that any protests must be cleared with police first, something the Uganda Law Society has said is not necessary under the country's laws.
The group condemned police actions that saw its member and FDC leader Dr Kizza Besigye shot in the hand, dozens of protesters injured, and hundreds arrested. The statement also said JEEMA party president Asuman Basalirwa and MP Kibirige Mayanja were denied bail at a Nabweru court over “flimsy reasons” and decried the arrest of MP Betty Nambooze.
“We in A4C maintain that our activities are peaceful, and shall not be drawn into confrontation by the militarised police force hell-bent on portraying our activities as unlawful,” the statement from Action for Change said.