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Dozens dead in Uganda following arrest of singer and opposition leader

Bobi Wine has captured the imagination of many Ugandans with his persistent calls for President Yoweri Museveni to retire after 36 years in power.

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Ugandan supporters of opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine (AP)

Ugandan supporters of opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine (AP)

Ugandan supporters of opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine (AP)

The death toll from protests over the arrest of Ugandan opposition presidential hopeful and musician Bobi Wine has risen to 37.

The Uganda police pathologist and the head of police health services told journalists in the capital, Kampala, that they had counted 37 bodies by Thursday morning.

A weary-looking Mr Wine was granted bail in the eastern town of Iganga after being arrested on Wednesday and accused of flouting Covid-19 guidelines that require presidential candidates to address fewer than 200 people.

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Ugandan pop star and opposition leader Bobi Wine (AP/Ronald Kabuubi, File)

Ugandan pop star and opposition leader Bobi Wine (AP/Ronald Kabuubi, File)

AP/PA Images

Ugandan pop star and opposition leader Bobi Wine (AP/Ronald Kabuubi, File)

Mr Wine said: “Let (President Yoweri) Museveni know that we are not slaves and we shall not accept to be slaves. We shall be free.”

His lawyers brought the torn clothes the singer wore on the day of his arrest on Wednesday, when protests erupted in the capital, Kampala.

Police have said 350 people were arrested and detained throughout Kampala. Tension remained in the capital on Thursday, with a heavy military and police presence.

Mr Wine, who has been arrested many times in recent years, has captured the imagination of many Ugandans with his persistent calls for Mr Museveni to retire after 36 years in power.

Speaking to reporters, security minister general Elly Tumwine warned the protesters that they will be dealt with if they continue.

Mr Tumwine said: “This was a deliberate and pre-planned move to cause chaos because we have evidence. But I want to warn those inciting violence that they will reap what they sow.”

While campaigning on Thursday, Mr Museveni said the protesters “have entered an area of fighting that we know very well”.

He said: “Whoever started it will regret it. Some of these groups are being used by outsiders who don’t like stability.”

Mr Museveni is expected to address the nation on Sunday, his spokesman said.

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