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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 March, 2005, 22:32 GMT
Rare opposition rally in Uganda
By Will Ross
BBC News, Kampala

Opposition supporters protest in Kampala
Demonstrators marched peacefully through Kampala
More than 1,000 opposition supporters have staged a rare demonstration in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

They protested against ongoing efforts to amend the constitution and allow President Yoweri Museveni to stand for re-election next year.

Mr Museveni - who came to power in 1986 - is showing no sign of quitting as those around him drum up support in order to change the constitution.

His supporters staged a demonstration in Kampala earlier this week.

'Free debate'

It was the first time in recent years that the police had given permission for such an open display of criticism of government.

President Yoweri Museveni
Mr Museveni is one of Africa's longest serving rulers

The participants at Thursday's rally protested against moves to keep one of Africa's longest serving rulers in power.

According to the constitution he is due to step down in a year's time after serving two-terms in office.

But the president's supporters want to amend the constitution to allow him to stand again.

And this looks a real possibility as President Museveni has sufficient numbers in parliament to make the change.

A state house official said the peaceful demonstration was proof of free debate in the country and that the state was not going to use force to amend the constitution.

Party politics has been severely restricted for many years in order to cut down on sectarian violence.

The fact that the demonstrations this week have been peaceful will be welcomed by those calling for democratic change in Uganda.


SEE ALSO:
Opposition hails Ugandan ruling
21 Mar 03 |  Africa


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