Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Riot of colour: Ugandan police use water cannon to spray protesters with PINK dye - 11th May 2011

Colourful protests are usually borne out via creative placards or cheeky chants – not by demonstrators covered in pink liquid sprayed on them by police.

That is how hardline Ugandan authorities deal with protesters however. Yesterday hundreds of anti-government marchers were splashed with the gaudy hue by special water cannons.

The scenes of men and women being showered with water mixed with pink dye in capital Kampala came as month-long protests over soaring prices and a disputed election turned ugly.

On Monday, at least nine unarmed people are believed to have been killed – including three shot in the back as they fled.

The tactic of spraying paint at protesters fairly common in Uganda and elsewhere in the continent.

It was used during the Apartheid era in South Africa, most famously in the 1989 Purple Rain Protest in Cape Town.

Spraying protesters a distinctive colour is carried out by such regimes because difficult for people to escape the police’s clutches while out of the demonstration zone.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni's crackdown on protesters has become increasingly desperate in recent days.

Yesterday he said would change the law to deny bail to people accused of riots and economic sabotage.

The east African country's capital five other towns have been rocked by violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces during protests against soaring prices of food and fuel.

Mr Museveni, in power for 25 years, accused the opposition of trying to spread chaos to avenge their defeat in February's disputed presidential elections which he won with a 68 per cent majority.

‘People think it's a game playing with the economy of Uganda, scaring away people who come to do business and invest,’ he said.

The violence has threatened to overshadow his $1.3million inauguration ceremony to launch Mr Museveni's fourth term on Thursday. Read More