Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ugandan Lawyers Protest Police Brutality

Hundreds of Ugandan lawyers gathered around court premises across the country Wednesday to protest against the government's crackdown on demonstrations that have engulfed the country in the past three weeks. 

The lawyers have vowed to boycott all court proceedings across the country until the end of the week, protesting what they see as the government's decision to deny demonstrators their constitutional rights, Ugandan Law Society President Bruce Kyerere said. 

According to Kyerere, the Ugandan government continues to defy a 2008 constitutional court ruling which annulled powers of the police to grant permission for demonstrations and processions. Ugandan security forces have mounted a violent crackdown on protests in the past three weeks, in which at least ten people have died and hundreds injured. 

The protests originally were meant to express dissatisfaction with the rising cost of fuel and food in Uganda, but quickly turned into larger, anti-government demonstrations.

Uganda's veteran opposition leader Kizza Besigye, President Yoweri Museveni's main challenger during the disputed Feb. 18 polls, has been beaten, tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed on several occasions during the protests. He has maintained the results of the February poll were falsified, and that both he and Museveni got just under 50 percent of the vote.

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