Ugandan opposition leader Besigye 'put under house arrest'

Uganda's leading opposition leader, figurehead of the country's month-long protests over rising food and fuel prices, was placed under de facto house arrest yesterday as police barred him from leaving his home, just days after President Museveni pledged to "end this criminality".

The day was expected to begin with another "Walk to Work" protest march, but Kizza Besigye found the road from his home blocked off by police. He was stopped as he attempted to leave his house by car, and presented with two options by the commanding officer: turn around and go home, or face "preventive arrest" for crimes he was expected to commit.

Mr Besigye told reporters, "today is the 'Walk to Work' day, but as you can see, I'm completely under siege... by soldiers and policemen all around" and said, that instead of walking to work, he had intended to go to court to seek an injunction against the police, who had set up a similar road block on Monday.

"This state of terror – coming to terrorise me around my home – is completely out of order and unacceptable" he said. "I should either be formally arrested or allowed to exercise my rights."

Police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba told The Independent that, "Dr Besigye had announced that he would begin his 'walk to work' protest again, and in all of these protests, roads have been blocked, property has been damaged and people have been injured... so we want to prevent the occurrence of any crime".

Ms Nabakooba asserted that the opposition leader was not under house arrest. But Anne Mugisha, strategist and leader in Mr Besigye's Forum for Democratic Change party, said, "What do you call it when you cannot leave your house? In any other language this is house arrest."

The demonstrations, which began over a month ago in protest against the rise in fuel and food prices, have seen Mr Besigye arrested and detained four times. He was also shot in the hand.

State security forces have fired tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons and finally, live ammunition to disperse crowds. On one day of riots sparked by Mr Besigye's most recent arrest, nine unarmed civilians were killed, according to Human Rights Watch.

Mr Besigye addressed reporters from the verandah of his home after turning back at the roadblock, comparing the actions of the state security forces to tactics favoured by the despotic regimes of Idi Amin and Milton Obote, which preceded Yoweri Museveni's 25-year rule of Uganda3.

"It is extremely depressing that we are now faced with [these measures] in our country," said Mr Besigye. In a statement released on Tuesday, President Museveni said that the police were right to quash the protests, calling them "treacherous".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
house + home
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Life and Style
Bats detect and react to wind speed and direction through sensors on their wings
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living