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Protests erupt in Uganda over controversial social media tax

KAMPALA, Uganda — Ugandan police used tear gasoline and bullets to interrupt up a avenue protest Wednesday towards a brand new tax concentrating on social media customers. Two protesters had been arrested in downtown Kampala, the capital, after a scuffle wherein some policemen had been assaulted, mentioned Luke Owoyesigire, a spokesman for Kampala police.

The protest was organized by a well-liked lawmaker, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, a pop star who’s one in a bunch of singers who say the tax can have destructive affect on the advertising of their music.

Police broke up the protest as a result of Ssentamu didn’t notify them of his plans, mentioned nationwide police spokesman Emilian Kayima.

Afterward Wednesday, Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda instructed lawmakers that the tax on social media, in addition to one other levy on a phone-based cost system referred to as cellular cash, can be reviewed and a brand new invoice introduced subsequent week.

Ugandan musician turned politician, Robert Kyagulanyi, leads activists throughout an illustration towards new taxes together with a levy on entry to social media platforms in Kampala, Uganda, July 11, 2018.

STRINGER/REUTERS

Since July 1, social media customers have been paying upfront a every day tax of 200 shillings — 5 cents — to entry all social media web sites and apps, together with WhatsApp. The brand new levy is along with the same old information charges.

Uganda’s authorities, which is attempting to chop again on exterior borrowing, mentioned the brand new tax measures will assist finance large infrastructure initiatives like resurfacing the various roads which have potholes.

The tax on social media was first proposed by longtime President Yoweri Museveni, who complained about on-line gossip in a March letter that urged the finance minister to boost cash “to deal with the results.” 

However as CBS Information’ Debora Patta stories, activists concern it solely clamps down on media freedom.

“This is likely one of the few methods one can criticize the federal government freely. There’s free entry to the web, and other people interact in political conversations and political conversations that contradict one another and, most significantly, criticize the president, who’s been in energy for over 30 years,” Patta mentioned.

Museveni has dominated Uganda since 1986.

A Ugandan journalist uses his camera after riot policemen fired tear gas to disperse activists led by musician turned politician, Robert Kyagulanyi, during a demonstrating against new taxes including a levy on access to social media platforms in Kampala

A Ugandan journalist makes use of his digicam after riot policemen fired tear gasoline to disperse activists led by musician turned politician, Robert Kyagulanyi, throughout a demonstrating towards new taxes together with a levy on entry to social media platforms in Kampala, Uganda, July 11, 2018.

STRINGER/REUTERS

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This materials might not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Related Press contributed to this report.

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