Court remands 30 ‘walk to work’ demo suspects in Gulu

Monday April 18 2011

By Sam Lawino & James Eriku

A court sitting in Gulu has remanded 30 people for allegedly taking part in last Thursday’s walk to work protests over the increasing cost of living in the country. The suspects, mainly youths were arrested by a joint team of police and the army as they tried to contain violent demonstrations following the arrest of Gulu LCV chairman, Norbert Mao after he tried to work to his office.

The suspects who appeared before Gulu’s Grade One Magistrate, Ms Joan Achiro were remanded to Gulu Central Prisons as they await to re-appear for hearing of their case today. A charge of inciting violence was slapped on them.

The Regional Police Spokesman, Mr Johnson Kilama during a press conference on Friday said the suspects illegally engaged in demonstrations which was uncalled for, contrary to the laws of Uganda.

“What happened was not called for, it was illegal demonstration, they would have sought permission from the police to stage their demonstration,” Mr Kilama said.

He added that the police would not hesitate to crack down on any illegal demonstration that could jeopardize peace of the people.

Meanwhile the 4th Division Public Relations Officer, Capt Peter Mugisha said the army is regretting its excessive use of power that left at least three people dead in last Thursday’s fracas.

Capt Mugisha said “the army intervened to contain the situation after the police was virtually overwhelmed by the mob that took to burning tyres and pelling stones but it’s regrettable”.

Scores of the police officers and the army were also injured in the running battle that paralyzed the entire town.