Four journalists in the Northern Uganda town of Lira spent the night in police custody following their arrest for covering protests against the proposed removal of the presidential age limit.
Isaac Otwi, a Daily Monitor Reporter, Robert Kalibongo of Unity FM, Denis Engena of NBS and Martin Ongom, a reporter of Dwon Luo, a local newspaper in Lira were picked up at around 5:30pm while covering protesters along Oyite Ojok lane in Lira town.
The demonstrators had lit fire along the road using old tyres and displayed placards denouncing the proposed scrapping of article 102 (b) from the constitution. The move is seen as an attempt to extend President, Yoweri Museveni grip on power once he clocks his retirement age in 2012.
Jasper Ouni, who was also covering the protest, says they were going about their business when anti-riot police showed up with six pickup trucks and rounded them up. He said the officers bundled the journalists on the trucks and whisked them off to Lira Central Police station where they are being held.
Police accuses the journalists of coordinating with the protesters and declining to notify them about their plans. Police has since deployed plain clothed detectives to track down key journalists they suspect of coordinating with the protesters. Earlier in the day, police picked up four civil society activists for staging the anti-age limit removal protest.
Three of the activists are Ambrose Ocen Kibuku, Denis Owera, Tonny Atepo and Suzan Abong Wilmot, the Director Solidarity Uganda, a Non-Governmental Organisation. Both the army and police have since deployed in Lira to stop any further protests.