Two Ugandan students and police have been arrested after two painted pigs were smuggled past tight parliament security in a protest against political corruption and youth unemployment.
The pigs, painted yellow – the colour of the ruling National Resistance Movement – were smuggled by two university students for their protest in Kampala on Tuesday. The pigs also had slogans pinned to their ears condemning corruption.
It was unfair to arrest the youths ... they have committed no crime.
After their arrest, the youths said they were protesting against the a lack of jobs for young people and the extravagance of politicians.
A number of police guarding the buildings were also arrested for failing to spot the animals.
The government has been previously criticised by the opposition for corruption. In 2012, Western donors suspended aid to Uganda following reports of embezzlement in the Prime Minister’s office.
Opposition politicians have defended the youths.
Benard Atiku, the shadow minister for youth, said: “It was unfair to arrest the youths because they were expressing displeasure with the level of unemployment and poverty in the country.
“We demand that they are released because they have committed no crime.”
But MPs from the ruling NRM expressed concern over what they said was lax security at the gates to parliament.
“How can youths walk with the pigs into parliament yet we have over 100 policemen guarding the place,” said Mariam Nalubega.
Authorities have arrested a number of police and are questioning them on how the pigs found their way into parliament.
Fred Enanga, of the Uganda police, said: “We are investigating a gross breach of security at parliament that could result in disciplinary proceedings against policemen who neglected their duty.”
However, parliament’s deputy speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, assured MPs, staff and the general public that their security was guaranteed and there would be no repeat.
Last year, anti-corruption activists in neighbouring Kenya drove a truck full of pigs caked in blood to the country’s parliament protesting against a sharp increase in the pay for MPs.