Friday, September 11, 2009

King's supporters riot in Uganda

At least two people have been killed in Uganda's capital, Kampala, in clashes between police and rioting supporters of a traditional king.
Police fired tear gas at the protesters who hurled stones and burned tyres. One report said at least seven people died.
The demonstrators protested against the government's attempts to stop the king of Buganda from visiting a region near Kampala where violence was feared. The king has a big influence among the Baganda, Uganda's largest ethnic group. At least two people were killed in Thursday's riots in central Kampala, police and witnesses said. But a photographer working for the Associated Press news agency said he had counted seven bodies, adding that all the victims appeared to be civilians.
King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II - who is constitutionally barred from taking part in national politics - had wanted to visit a hostile part of his community to the north-east of Kampala. The issue is so sensitive that ethnic Baganda members of parliament walked out of the legislature on Wednesday. There has also been a long history of tension between the king and central government, particularly over land reform proposals that the Baganda say threaten their community, the BBC's Peter Greste reports. Buganda is one of four ancient kingdoms in Uganda. It was abolished in 1966 but then restored in the 1990s.

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