Kampala-At least twenty-eight people died in violent clashes between Ugandan security forces and supporters of a detained opposition presidential candidate this week, marking a particularly violent start to the country’s election season.

Two days of protests were sparked by the arrest of Bobi Wine ahead of a political rally in support of his bid for the presidency in January 14’s election.

Dozens died and hundreds were arrested as tyres were burned and police responded to hurled rocks with teargas, rubber bullets and live rounds in the capital Kampala and other towns.

On Friday, there was a heavy police and army presence in Kampala with roadblocks and security checks, after protests turned to looting and robberies the evening before.

“We would like to inform the public that a total of 28 people have died following the violent political demonstrations, in multiple areas,” police spokesman Fred Enanga told a press conference.

Enanga claimed the protests were “part of a loosely coordinated campaign” and not spontaneous, adding that bows and arrows, as well as bottles, tyres and fuel for incendiary devices had been found. 

“All indicators reveal these were not just impromptu actions,” he said.

Enanga added that 375 people had been arrested with some suspects due to appear in court Friday, Wine among them.