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Police shoot Uganda politician

Military police officers have shot Uganda's leading opposition politician in the arm and fired tear gas into a hospital after demonstrations against rising fuel and food prices broke out across the country.

The opposition politician, Kizza Besigye, was walking to work to protest against high petrol prices.

Ugandan Red Cross spokeswoman Catherine Ntabadde said Mr Besigye was hit by a bullet fired by military police as they tried to disperse the crowd of supporters around Mr Besigye. Ms Ntabadde said she did not know if it was a rubber bullet or a real one.

"Military police coming from Kampala confronted the crowd," she said. "They could have shot him accidentally. We took him to hospital for treatment."

Police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba confirmed that Mr Besigye had been shot at. She said the police were investigating.

The skirmish broke out after police surrounded Mr Besigye. Ugandan youths then allegedly began harassing the police.

Some demonstrators sought shelter in a nearby hospital, from where police officer Ronald Okello said the demonstrators threw rocks at authorities. Mr Okello said police then fired tear gas.

Mary Nabu, a hospital worker in the town of Kasangati, near Kampala, said patients were affected and that some mothers moved sick children from their beds to get away from the gas. As she spoke, Ms Nabu wiped tears from her eyes caused by the gas.

Mr Besigye was arrested on Monday, along with several members of parliament, during a similar march to protest against high fuel and food prices. The police called it an illegal demonstration. He was taken away by authorities again on Thursday.

Mr Besigye is Uganda's top opposition politician. He took second place to Yoweri Museveni in February's presidential election.

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