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Uganda Police Arrest Opposition Figure, Setting Off Deadly Protests

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KAMPALA, Uganda — The police in Uganda said three people died and 38 were injured in protests that broke out on Wednesday in Uganda’s capital after officers arrested Bobi Wine, a musician and opposition politician seeking the presidency in next year’s election.

Mr. Wine’s supporters blocked roads and burned tires in Kampala, prompting the police to fire tear gas and bullets to disperse the protesters. The unrest came after Mr. Wine was arrested in the eastern town of Luuka and taken to a police station in the city of Jinja.

A police spokesman, Fred Enanga, said Mr. Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, was arrested for violating Covid-19 guidelines that require presidential candidates to meet or address fewer than 200 people.

“We have not been allowed to see him and we don’t know what is happening,” said Joel Ssenyonyi, the spokesman for Mr. Wine’s political party, the National Unity Platform.

In the meantime, it was “total chaos” in the capital, said the chairman of the Kampala City Traders Association, Evarest Kayongo. “The streets are empty. We have closed business because of tear gas and bullets,” Mr. Kayongo said.

Mr. Wine, who has been arrested numerous times in recent years, 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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