Several people have died and dozens have been injured, including from gunshot wounds, in protests that erupted after police arrested Ugandan presidential candidate and pop star Bobi Wine, Ugandan police and the Red Cross said.
In a statement on Thursday, police said a total of 16 people had died while 65 were injured, and added the death toll could rise. A further 350 were arrested in the clashes.
Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has emerged as the strongest challenger against President Yoweri Museveni, 76, in the presidential election due on January 14.
Police said in a statement they arrested Wine on Wednesday while he was campaigning in the country’s east for violating anti-coronavirus measures.
They accused him of involvement “in the massive mobilisation of unauthorised assemblies and processions amidst the threat of COVID-19 in Uganda”.
After news of Wine’s detention broke across the country, violent protests immediately erupted in the capital Kampala and several other major towns.
In many parts of Kampala, young people lit fires and erected barricades on roads, trying to block traffic and demanding the release of Wine, as police and military personnel fired tear gas and live bullets to disperse them.
Since expressing his intention to replace Museveni, Wine has won a large following, especially among young people in the East African country.