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Ugandans outraged after officer gropes opposition leader

April 23, 2012 |  1:59 pm

Protest

Outrage erupted in Uganda after a female opposition leader was groped by a police officer as she was pulled out of a car and arrested outside Kampala, the capital, en route to a banned protest.

Footage of the Friday incident, televised and spread online, showed Ingrid Turinawe crying out as an officer grabbed and manhandled her breast. “Leave my breast alone!” she shouted, slapping the officer's hand away. (Warning: This NTV video clearly and repeatedly shows the incident.)

A small group of infuriated Ugandan women protested in their bras Monday outside a Kampala police headquarters. Turinawe, who leads the women’s league of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change, called the episode “sexual terrorism” in an interview published Monday in the Daily Monitor.

"I was tortured at the hands of those goons in that van but there is no turning back," she said.

Deputy Police Chief Andrew Kaweesa apologized and said the incident will be investigated, the BBC reported. Ugandan police, reacting to angry bloggers on Twitter, said an officer had been suspended as of Saturday.

The Ugandan opposition has complained of frequent harassment, beatings and arrests under President Yoweri Museveni; Turinawe is one of six opposition members charged in an ongoing case with plotting to overthrow the government. She is also linked to an activist group that has railed against growing fuel and food prices. The government recently banned the group as "unlawful."

Her motto is, "I would rather die as a lion than live as a rat," the Observer reported this year in an article that recounted her repeated arrests and beatings. 

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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Photo: Opposition activists known as Concerned Citizens of Uganda confront a policeman on Monday in Kampala during a demonstration against the recent arrest of Ingrid Turinawe, during which a police officer was seen grabbing her breast. Credit: Isaac Kasamani / AFP/Getty Images

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