KAMPALA – Police have said 50 youths belonging to the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), who were arrested on their way to Parliament on Monday, January 14, will appear in court on charges of holding protests contrary to the public order management act.
Police intercepted the group, who call themselves NRM Social Media Activists (SOMA), as they sought to deliver a petition to the Speaker of Parliament, protesting what described as Britain’s interference in Uganda’s affairs.
Last week, police also arrested three members of the same group when they stormed the British High Commission in Kamwokya, a Kampala City suburb.
Mr Luke Owoyesigire, the Kampala Metropolitan Police deputy spokesperson, said they are hunting for the group leaders.
“We intercepted them as they were entering Parliament and we are holding them in our cells as investigations go on. If we get any information of who is behind this move, we shall get him and bring in to book,” Mr Owoyesigire said.
He added that once case files are ready, the group will be taken to court.
The group of youths donned in yellow T-shirts with the NRM logo and President Museveni’s picture sought to petition the office of the speaker to oppose the motion tabled by Dr Paul Williams in the UK parliament on Uganda’s democracy and state of human rights.
According to the youth, Uganda is a sovereign state and it ought to discuss its own issues and no other foreigners.
“We got independence and we do not want these colonialists to continue ruling us indirectly,” Mr Benjamin Emoru, one of the youth said.
Before the group made it through the parliamentary gates, police intercepted them and wrestled them into waiting police cars to CPS.
One of the activists, Ms Amina Nalukanga collapsed to the ground and fainted after police tore open tear gas canisters, which ended up affecting the police officers themselves.
Mr Chris Obore, the director of communication at Parliament, said they had received the petition and were treating it as an urgent matter to be produced to the speaker and eventually call for a meeting with the activists.
“The issues they are presenting in the petition are justifiable. We only want them to calm down as we get to the speaker to see how their issues can be handled. We shall surely present this letter to the authorities and we shall communicate to them the way forward,” Mr Obore said.
This is not the first time the group is staging a demonstration, last week on Tuesday, they stormed the British embassy and police arrested three of their members. One day later, they held a meeting in Bunga, a Kampala suburb and agreed to petition the speaker.