Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Traders have asked security personnel to stop firing teargas and live bullets in arcades during protests.
They note that whenever there is a protest in the town, arcade traders suffer at the hands of security agencies that not only beat them but go ahead and fire teargas in buildings.
On Wednesday, protests broke out in the city following the arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi in Luuka district. A video making rounds on social media also shows a military police officer firing a bullet at a civilian filming from an upper floor. The incident is said to have happened on Nasser road.
Everest Kayondo, the chairman Kampala City Traders Association-KACITA says over 20 teargas canisters were yesterday fired in the Premier Center building and at least ten in Royal Complex.
“And if you are shooting even live bullets, what are the intentions of the security? President Museveni told us one of the things he was going to do was to remove guns from the civilians and guns should remain in the barracks, ” said Kayondo.
Kayondo says that several traders fainted, suffocated and others hospitalized as a result of teargas. He adds that some traders have made losses by closing their premises for fear of being harassed by security personnel.
Emmanuel Agaba, a trader at Light City Arcade on Nkrumah road says that police’s actions also scare away their customers.
Agaba adds that many of them live in fear whenever a protest erupts because of the brutal acts of security personnel.
Godfrey Katongol,e the chairman Kampala Arcades Traders Association wonders why traders should suffer at the cost of protesters.
When protests erupt in Kampala, the entrances to arcades are blocked to prevent looters from breaking into the shops.
Patrick Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson says security only fires teargas in to quell protesters and would not target people in buildings. He says if any canisters were thrown in the arcades, it is unfortunate.
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