Kampala; 12th/July/2010; Two television journalists were over the week-end assaulted by anti riot police which was dispersing Democratic Party (DP) supporters during a rally at Kamwokya trading center a Kampala suburb.
The anti riot police used live bullets, sticks and tear gas canisters to disperse the rally which was described illegal by police.
Journalists Kato Andrew a camera man and a reporter with Media Plus news agency and Hillary Ayesiga a visionaire with NTV were assaulted by anti police.
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) has established that the police was extremely brutal while dispersing the Democratic Party rally which lasted between 5:00pm and 5:30pm and the police tried to obstruct journalists from covering it.
“I arrived at the rally before 5pm and I met other journalists then the police commander whom I did not get the name told us that the rally we had come to cover was illegal because the organizers did not inform the police as the law requires” Andrew Kato said. In few minutes DP president and party supporters suddenly appeared and started addressing the gatherings and in less than three minutes, police started firing live bullets, tear gas and clobbering supporters. As I tried to film, in my background I heard a voice ordering to beat me up.
“A police officer hit me with a big stick on my right shoulder and in the process, as I tried to protect my camera, he clobbered my right arm which was carrying the camera and injured my fingers” Kato said. All journalists were dispersed along with the crowd with tear gas.
Ayesiga who is the second victim told HRNJ-Uganda that by the time he arrived at the rally few minutes to 6pm, police was armed with sticks and ordered that all camera should leave the scene. “As police started firing live bullets and tear gas at the crowd, a police officer jumped to grab my camera and we fought for it” Ayesiga said. He was beaten as a result of resisting.
“The current attacks against journalists in Uganda by the police and government officials whose primary responsibility is to keep law and order notify us that the dark days for journalists are here” HRNJ-Uganda programmes coordinator Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala said.
It’s hardly one and half weeks when the New Vision correspondent Dismus Bulegyeya was assaulted and camera destroyed by the Deputy Resident District Commissioner Kasiita Jjuuko.
HRNJ-Uganda calls for investigation into the commanding officer of the last Saturday’s incident and his subordinates to ensure that they are punished.
For more information contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Plot 16 Clement Hill Road Nakasero
P.O.Box 71314 Clock Tower Kampala
Tel: +256-414-667627 / +256-701-810079
Log onto our Website; www.hrnjuganda.org
Or Blog; http://hrnjuganda.blogpost.com