At least nine students arrested on their way to the European Union (EU) offices on Tuesday to protest the Uganda-Tanzania oil pipeline project will face charges of inciting violence.
The students were part of a larger group that carried placards on Tuesday, calling on French energy giant TotalEnergies to “Stop EACOP” as they marched through the city wearing their blue and red undergraduate gowns from Kyambogo and Makerere Universities.
EACOP is the abbreviation for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.
These were, however, stopped by police officers in the vicinity of the Kingdom Kampala Mall and some of them loaded onto the ready police patrol cars.
Patrick Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan spokesperson, told journalists on Wednesday morning that nine students were arrested in the “illegal” protest and would face charges.
“Because they did not seek police permission, their protest is illegal. We arrested nine suspects, four of whom were students and the other five were hired,” Onyango explained.
“They’ll be charged with inciting violence,” he added.
Ugandans continue to have varying opinions about EACOP, with some arguing that the project should be abandoned due to human rights and environmental issues.
Other pro-government activists assert that EACOP will end Uganda’s energy poverty and argue that those opposed to the project are not being patriotic.
The EU parliament in Brussels proposed last month that the EACOP should be postponed until TotalEnergies and the governments involved address the environmental and human rights issues.
The government accused the EU MPs of having colonial mindsets in response to the resolution, setting off a verbal battle.
The EU resolution was denounced by President Museveni, who also urged EU lawmakers to “take away their ego” and leave Uganda’s problems in Ugandan hands.
Rather surprisingly, police provided protesters with protection during last week’s successful demonstrations in Kampala against the resolution of the EU parliament.
Unlike Monday’s protest, which resulted in arrests, the students supporting EACOP were accompanied by police outriders and a lead car as they traveled to the EU offices to deliver a petition.