Opposition figure, Kizza Besigye, says freedom has no price and lauded Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] party President Patrick Oboi Amuriat for standing for his rights.
Amuriat was on Monday arrested in Soroti town over charges of destroying property, disrupting traffic and disobeying the public order management act.
He was first blocked from leading a procession across town and arrested with Tom Julius Ekudo, Kamuda LC3 Daniel Eigu before being released later in the night.
The FDC party had called their supporters to Soroti Independence Square to celebrate 15 years of the party’s existence but Police stopped them with teargas and live bullets.
Soroti District Police Commander (DPC), Jamada Wandera, declared the gathering illegal saying FDC leadership in Soroti did not at one time approach his office informing them of the celebrations.
Amuriat and his team instead tried to address supporters in the middle of the road.
Police dispersed the gathering with rubber bullets and tear gas. The force towed Amuriat’s vehicle to Soroti Central Police where he was detained.
Besigye who was also arrested in Jinja town on the same day, praised Amuriat for standing his ground in the face of alleged persecution.
“Thanks Mr President for asserting our RIGHT to assemble &express ourselves,” Besigye noted.
He added: “The sacrifice is worth it; freedom has no price. 2020: You push us, we push you; you stop us, we stop you!”
On Wednesday, Besigye was intercepted by police along the new Nile Bridge and arrested again.
“Abusing our rights will be very costly for the NRM junta. No turning back. This is 2020, the year Ugandans must do everything to regain their rights, ahead of the next election. Without rights, Ugandans have no vote. This is our message to FDC’s 15 years,” Besigye said.
He was detained at Nalufenya detention facility along with his driver Fred Kato, Nasur Din and his aide, Ronald Muhinda.
They were later released in the night.
“We spent the day in that notorious detention facility when Police arrested us as President was going for a Radio Talk Show in Jinja,” Muhinda said.
He added: “We were released without charge, itself a violation of rights. Its not a good place to be but we shall overcome.”
Besigye later said he safely held a talk show, surrounded by the menacing Police, thanks to the “reinforced” vehicle he used.
“We were later towed to notorious Nalufenya Police Station and detained for the day. We’ve been released without any charge or doc! I refused to hand back the APP forms 4 record.”
His radio host David Aga was promptly arrested at Nile bridge.
“The guilty are, truly, afraid! No turning back; we aim at having an empowered free people before the next election. Let’s all step up. 20-20, Double, Double!” Besigye noted.
FDC carried out a series of activities across Eastern Uganda in celebration of 15 years of its existence.
In Mbale for example, several were beaten and scores arrested, three of whom slept in cells.
They include Murapa Peter whose motorbike was also confiscated. On Tuesday, lawyers in Mbale were managing the situation in earnest.
In Jinja, among the many who were arrested, one activist was still in cells by day break. In the brutal attacks by police, five people were badly injured.
Similarly, reports from Soroti indicate that two people sustained major injuries, including the Speaker Teso Regional Assembly of the People’s Government.
Njeru too experienced disruptions. In the melee that ensued, one person was arrested and slept in cells.
Local leaders of Buikwe District led by the Chairman FDC there are working frantically to get the detainee freed.
In Tororo, police found fault with the chairs which had been hired to seat the celebrants.
They confiscated them and efforts are underway to have the chairs too have peace.