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Ugandans Block Traffic Over Inflation

FILE - Riot police patrol the streets in Kampala, Uganda. Taken 7.23.2020

Residents in Jinja, a major city in eastern Uganda near the heavily traveled highway leading to the country's border with Kenya, stopped traffic to express their discontent with the country's fast-rising cost of living.

Ugandans protesting the rapidly rising cost of living barricaded streets in the eastern city of Jinja with Police attempted to remove molten tires from the middle of the road, according to photos published by the local Daily Monitor newspaper.

The public protests came a day after officials in the East African nation issued a warning about an alleged scheme by individuals "within the country and abroad" to incite people to remain home for three days in protest of inflation that has decreased the purchasing power of the Uganda shilling.

“After the (three) days, they claim their alleged protests will transition into open street demonstrations and mass uprisings, to purposely cause change in government. These are illegitimate and unconstitutional means that we do strongly condemn,” police said in a statement.

A liter of gasoline in the capital, Kampala, is now selling at a record price of over $1.70, or about $6.90 per gallon, and sometimes even higher in other parts of the country.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in many speeches has resisted calls for his government to launch price interventions similar to what Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has done, in recent days raising the minimum wage and subsidizing the cost of corn flour, a staple food.

Ugandan authorities blame inflationary pressures mostly on the war in Ukraine.

Museveni, an authoritarian leader in power since 1986, has instead urged Ugandans to tighten their belts. He drew widespread scorn for a recent speech in which he told Ugandans to substitute cassava for bread, saying the starchy root tuber is a healthy alternative.