Women In Uganda
May 9, 2011 by staff
The estimated 200 women carried empty pots and cooking utensils, while walking through Kampala.
The women, all dressed in white, carried signs reading: “. For a country without food, bullets are not food”, “Stop police brutality” and
Uganda has been at least a half dozen major political rallies in the last month on food prices and government corruption. Security forces cracked down and arrested the opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, in a way that requires a hospital stay of a week in Kenya after being temporarily blinded by pepper spray or tear gas.
Human Rights Watch said the weekend that documented the deaths of nine unarmed people killed by government forces, none of which actively participated in the riots. The group called for an immediate and thorough investigation on the use of lethal force by security forces to counter the demonstrations and riots.
Security forces fired bullets to quell demonstrations.
“For too long the government of Uganda has allowed a climate of impunity for serious abuses by police and army,” said Maria Burnett, principal investigator for the African human rights group based in New York.
No violence was reported on Monday, a police spokesman said the woman had requested and received permission to hold the march. The police provided security during the demonstration.
“We are carrying empty pots to show the government that many women in Uganda do not have food to cook for their children,” said Ruth Ojambo Ocheing, a protester. “We do not want bullets in our babies. The government should address the problems of Ugandans” immediately. ”
The women presented a statement to the UN special representative on human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, and condemned police “brutality” and called on the government to exercise restraint. They also condemned the censorship of the media and arrests of opposition leaders.
Weekend Besigye told The Associated Press that she has regained most of the hearing since it was sprayed with tear gas or pepper-blank. Besigye, 55, who has come second to President Yoweri Museveni in three straight elections, said he would return to Uganda this week and continue to participate in protest marches.
The protests have been the first serious disturbance in sub-Saharan Africa since a wave of protests against the government sweeping long leaders in Tunisia and Egypt out of power.
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