Uganda: Police fire tear gas at journalists protesting crackdown


President Museveni (L) walks with the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga (R) before addressing the 9th Parliament on the improvement of the Uganda Economy in Kampala on February 10, 2012.



Ugandan police on Tuesday resorted to tear gas in order to break up a large press-lead demonstration in support of freedom of expression in the east African nation, according to Reuters

"The police are turning violent yet this is a peaceful demonstration," protester Simon Anguzu told Agence-France Press

The Kampala protest reportedly drew some 100 reporters, supporters and human rights activists. They gathered outside two major newspaper offices recently shuttered by the authorities, leaving readers saddled with only the state-run "New Vision" paper, said AFP.

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The incident reflects heated public debate over who should take charge after the passing of elderly President Yoweri Museveni, according to Reuters, with one paper recently attacked by the state for a report that his son is preparing to take over. 

Rumors abound as to who may try to seize power, and Reuters said authorities there recently claimed to have foiled an assasination attempt aimed at alleged likely candidates. 

Ugandan police chief Kale Kayihura told AFP the media officers would only be closed only until reporters "cooperated."