Uganda blacks out fisticuffs in parliament for a second day


The suspended members of parliament were accused of obstructing proceedings in a riotous session on Tuesday during which legislators brawled over efforts to introduce a contentious motion to remove the presidential age limit of 75 from Uganda's constitution.

Uganda's ruling party enjoys an overwhelming majority in the national assembly and the bill is expected to pass despite the spirited efforts of some opposition lawmakers who wear red bandanas as a sign of what they say is their resistance to the long reign of Museveni. That makes President Yoweri Museveni, 73, in power for more than three decades, unqualified to seek re-election at the next polls in 2021.

It took 20 minutes for order to be restored after the unruly scenes.

Towards the end of a almost six-hour session, moments before the controversial motion was read, legislators opposed to it successfully foiled its introduction by breaking into endless singing of the national anthem.

On Tuesday, anti-government protests also occurred in other parts of the country, including in the northern town of Lira.

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There was no retaliation, and the United States resumed reconnaissance flights off the coast of North Korea a week later. In Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang described the situation as highly complex and sensitive.

"Some students and other young people were causing commotion and attempting to rob shopkeepers".

Media in Uganda routinely complain of harassment by security personnel. The debate was postponed last week amid heavy police deployment to parliament.

A Western ally, who sent the Ugandan military to fight Islamist militants in Somalia, Museveni won plaudits in the early years of his rule for restoring stability after years of turmoil and for drawing foreign investment.

In recent years however, rampant human rights violations, corruption and broken public services have fuelled opposition to his rule.

A BBC report said that the parliament adjourned after a raucous day without debating the constitutional change.