April 14, 2011 / 7:28 AM / 8 years ago

Ugandan police fire teargas at food price protest

Uganda's Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leader Kizza Besigye (L) talks to anti-riot policemen before his arrest at Kasangati suburb of the capital Kampala, April 11, 2011. REUTERS/Edward Echwalu

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Ugandan police fired teargas to disperse a crowd that gathered after an opposition leader was prevented from taking part in a second round of protests over rising fuel and food prices, witnesses said.

A Reuters witness at the scene in a Kampala suburb said hundreds of people massed after police stopped Kizza Besigye, President Yoweri Museveni’s closest rival in February elections, from walking to his office as part of the protest.

Besigye, with other opposition leaders, was arrested on Monday for taking part in the first “walk to work” protest organised by opposition parties and civil society groups.

The leaders were released on bail and Besigye is facing charges of inciting unrest during the Monday march.

A small group of protesters surrounded Besigye on Thursday to try and prevent the police from detaining him again.

The opposition and civil society groups have said they plan to carry on holding protests every two days.

After the February election, Besigye called for peaceful protests against Museveni’s 25-year-old rule, saying the poll had been rigged, but they failed to get off the ground.

Prices have been rising after drought hurt food production in many parts of Uganda and higher fuel prices have increased transport costs, pushing up food prices further in urban areas.

Uganda’s consumer price index rose 4.1 percent in March from February, pushing the year-on-year inflation rate up for a fifth successive month to 11.1 percent from 6.4 percent a month earlier.

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