May 28, 2013

Police Tear Gas Solidarity Demo over Closed Media Houses

A demonstration organised by the Uganda Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ-U) to show support for besieged media houses has been tear-gassed in Namuwongo, Kampala.

The small demonstration led by HRNJ-U national co-ordinator Wokulira Ssebagala was dispersed before it could properly access the Daily Monitor newspaper offices in Namuwongo.

The leaders of the demonstration, Ssebagala, two men and another woman, however refused to leave the vicinity of the newspaper which has been closed since Monday, May 20. The demonstrators instead sat down by the fence of the Monitor and police is presently trying to work out how to remove them.

Wokulira and the demonstrators had tried to place a clock on the Daily Monitor fence before police moved in to disrupt their protest.

The demonstration was organised to show solidarity with the two media houses whose premises were taken over by police last week. Police moved into their premises with a court order authorising it to search for a letter published by The Daily Monitor and The Red Pepper in their print editions.

The letter purportedly authored by Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) General David Sejusa made several allegations. One of the allegations was that President Museveni was grooming his son Brigadier Kainerugaba Muhoozi to succeed him in the near future. The letter also alleged that there was a plot to assassinate senior military and government officials seen as opposed to the “Muhoozi Project.”

The publication of the letter led to the police raid that has seen the premises of the two media houses remain off limits to their staff up to now. Affected too are Daily Monitor radio affiliates KFM and Dembe FM.

Police has now moved to block off access to the Monitor premises with a tear gas truck blocking off one side of the road and road barriers on the other side.

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