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Uganda: #walk2work Arrests Spur Hunger Strike, Future Protests

Categories: Sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda, Governance, Protest

This post is part of our special coverage Uganda: Walk to Work Protests [1].

Rather than backing down after the arrest of two Ugandan opposition leaders [2] for staging a “Walk to Work” protest against high fuel and food prices on Monday, Ugandan activists have responded by announcing a hunger strike [3] and planning more demonstrations.

According to the Uganda Talks Blog [3]:

Mukono North MP Betty Nambooze told journalists today that the leaders have decided not to eat anything as they go about their duties at Parliament. She said that there was no point for them (leaders) to eat when the public can hardly afford food.

News of the protests is widespread on Twitter, where #walk2work [4] continues to trend in the Ugandan Twittersphere [2].

@uchaguziug [5]:

Opposition insists on Walk to Work protests every Monday and Thursday #walk2work [4]

@vote4africa [6]:

#Uganda [7] Walking Schedule: Mon & Thu #walk2work [4] / Fri, Sat, Sun #walk2church [8] @AJEstream [9] @bbc_global [10] @cnn [11] @hrw [12] #africa [13] #protest [14]

Some in the Twittersphere, however, are concerned that tweets won't translate into action:

@nsw_DC [15]:

Hopefully opp can keep this momentum up…but where is civil society? http://bit.ly/dPFQMm [16] & http://bit.ly/dKfoDD [17] #Uganda [7] #walk2work [4]

@AndrewMwenda [18]:

Uganda's opposition this morning surrendered their strategic initiative by not re-attempting their “walk-2-work campaign

@oletan [19]:

@AndrewMwenda [20] Agreed. Walk one day and it is a protest. Walk for days on end and it becomes a movement. #walk2work [4]

Others are choosing to view the incident in a more humorous light. On satire blog Urban Legend Kampala [21], Erique writes:

Yesterday was walk to work day.

For those who still don’t know what that was all about, it means girls were supposed to walk to work naked and boys were just supposed to buy popcorn and sit by the roadside while updating their Facebook status messages with LOLs, OMGs and mssstttcchhews, where appropriate.

Just joking. It was just a public holiday for government to celebrate its annual arrest of Kizza Besigye. It happens once every year.

@Elirri [22]:

Ugandans being arrested for walking “under the influence of legs”-interesting country

@tmsruge [23]:

I am hopping & skipping my way across town RT @aoyako [24] @tmsruge [25] do u have a date in afternoon. Will you walk or… But you may get arrested

@emmanuwamanya [26]:

Where can I get a walking permit? #walk2work [4] #fb [27]

This post is part of our special coverage Uganda: Walk to Work Protests [1].