Bobi Wine, the Ugandan presidential candidate, has been released from jail after being charged with breaking the country’s coronavirus restrictions.
The pop star-turned-politician, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was released on bail.
Mr Wine, 38, was detained on Wednesday while campaigning in the town of Luuka in eastern Uganda for allegedly holding a rally in violation of restrictions on gatherings aimed at curbing the spread of the pandemic.
The singer used a televised court appearance in Iganga, eastern Uganda, on Friday to say it was the country’s president, Yoweri Museveni, who should be in the dock for “killing innocent citizens”.
His arrest triggered immediate protests in the capital, Kampala, and other major towns as supporters blocked roads with burning tyres and other material, holding up traffic and demanding his release.
Live ammunition, tear gas and water cannon have been used to disperse protesters in Kampala and surrounding areas, by police and the military.
Police pathologist Moses Byaruhanga said: “Thirty-seven bodies have been counted so far.”
At least 350 people have been arrested, some of them for attacking anyone who doesn’t support Mr Wine’s National Unity Platform (NUP) party, according to police spokesman Fred Enanga.
He said: “What we have seen in the last few days, that is violence, vandalism, looting, intimidation and threats, are crimes that were being committed (against) people who are not pro-NUP.
“This is not something that we can tolerate.”
Mr Wine, a charismatic figure who has a large following among the country’s youth, has emerged as a serious threat to the 76-year-old incumbent Yoweri Museveni in the election, due to be held in January.
Younger Ugandans are drawn to his bold criticism of the government, often in his song lyrics.
He has repeatedly urged Mr Museveni, who has led the country for 34 years, to retire.
On Thursday he tweeted a video of what he called “men in plain clothes shooting people in broad daylight!”
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