At least 16 people have lost their lives in the Uganda protests following the arrest of pop star-turned-politician Bobi Wine, police said on Thursday. Another 65 were reported injured, with police saying 350 people were detained in the capital city of Kampala. Soldiers in armored vehicles were seen deployed across the city, according to the Reuters news agency, which also reported security forces using live ammunition. Other sources spoke of police and troops using rubber bullets as well as teargas and water cannon. Protests began on Wednesday following the arrest of opposition leader Bobi Wine, who has emerged as the main challenger to longstanding President Yoweri Museveni in the January 14 presidential election. Police spokesman Fred Enanga told AFP that calm had returned to the capital Kampala "even after there were attempts by some gangs this morning to block roads by burning tires and setting up barricades, which police stopped." The 38-year-old Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was arrested for allegedly violating coronavirus measures at his rallies, which require presidential candidates to address less 200 people. Wine was still in custody on Thursday.
Wine has been targeted by police since announcing his presidential campaign. He was most recently arrested on November 3, just moments after registering his candidacy. Wine is now seen as the strongest challenger to Museveni, bolstered by strong support from Uganda's youth, who have been drawn by criticism of the government in his catchy pop songs.
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