Ugandan police teargas protesting journalists

Mr. Museveni, one of Africa’s longest serving rulers, has been in power since 1986.

The Ugandan police on Tuesday fired tear gas at journalists protesting the recent closure of two newspapers and two radio stations by the authorities.

A police spokesman said officers used “reasonable force’ against the journalists.

The four media outlets were shut after publishing documents indicating President Yoweri Museveni, 69, is grooming his son to become the future head of state.

The reports cited senior military figures, normally quiet behind the throne, expressing worries about possible planned assassinations against contenders who could upset Mr. Museveni’s succession plans.

Mr. Museveni, one of Africa’s longest serving rulers, has been in power since 1986 and is facing elections in 2016.

Police confronted the protesting journalists outside the offices of the country’s largest independent newspaper, The Daily Monitor, which has been under police occupation since last week.

The publication has not gone to print since Thursday. The Red Pepper tabloid has suffered the same fate, while two radio stations were taken off the air.

“There were a number of journalists who went to the scene of the crime and provoked our officers, who used reasonable force to remove them from there.

“The reasonable force included using tear gas. Nobody was arrested, nor injured,’’ police spokesman Patrick Onyango told dpa.

The Monitor Publications last week took the government to court, which ruled that the police occupation and closure of the papers was illegal.

The president of the Uganda Journalists Association, Joshua Kyalimpa, said that the demonstration by the press was part of the efforts to force government to reopen the media houses.

“By demonstrating, the journalists were acting lawfully, but the police acted outside the law because court ruled that their occupation of the paper premises was illegal,” Mr. Kyalimpa said by telephone.

Human rights groups, including Human Right Watch and Amnesty International, have condemned the closure of the media houses.

(dpa/NAN)


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