Thanks to all those who participated in today's walk to deliver a petition to your Member of Parliament expressing outrage at Parliament's attempt to selfishly improve their welfare at a time when their constituents are going hungry. What was supposed to be a straight forward exercise of delivering a petition, turned into a farce and walkers were nearly arrested at Parliament. We were stopped and told to move a short distance away from a security check point. We agreed and stood patiently waiting to be received at a meeting arranged by the Leader of Opposition.
After 30 minutes for no apparent reason, security seems to have lost their patience with our small group, not exceeding 30 people. They told us to leave or be arrested. One officer shouted orders and we were surrounded by riot police who outnumbered us nearly 4:1. The media was ordered to leave and they were roughly shoved away. A female reporter with WBS was beaten with a baton. We remained calm and insisted that we were within our rights to petition our representatives.
The Police kept increasing its deployment and finally when a police bus arrived a plain clothes officer only know to us as Laban ordered us to get on to the bus because we were now under arrest. Walkers started to board the bus but thankfully some opposition Members of Parliament led by the Leader of Opposition - who earlier on told us they were arranging to receive us; returned and explained that we were their guests.
Police nonetheless denied us entry into Parliament without offering any plausible reason. We were then given one minute to leave the area outside Parliament or else be arrested. We decided to leave peacefully but police constables who were clearly confused by constantly changing orders from an array of their superiors shoved and pushed us thinking we were escaping arrest.
The Parliament of Uganda houses our representatives and today the police denied us access to our representatives. We posed no threat to our representatives yet we were treated like criminal tresspassers on public property! The Leader of Opposition was notified of our visit to present a petition and he accepted to meet us prior to our arrival at Parliament. Once again our rights have been trampled upon but we will not be deterred in our efforts to hold our leaders accountable.
Thanks to all those who stood their ground against rampaging soldiers and police constables. Special thanks to Makerere University Guild President and his government who were present and brave - You did fine. It was refreshing to meet A4C members who normally interact online joining us offline and being as brave as they are online. Thanks to the media who took the blows on our behalf. Thanks to the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Nathan Nandala Mafabi, Hon. Christine Abia and your colleagues for standing up for us otherwise we would certainly have spent the night in police custody.
We have officially notified the Inspector General of Police that we will picket Parliament on Thursday June 2, 2011. The Leader of the Opposition promised to meet us officially in his office on Thursday. See you there!
Activists 4 Change