The Ugandan pop star and opposition politician known as Bobi Wine has been remanded to a maximum-security prison after being charged over his alleged role in a street protest last year against a tax on social media.

Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, and others led an anti-government protest in the capital, Kampala, in July 2018 without prior authorisation, Ugandan police spokesman Fred Enanga said.

Wine, 37, appeared in a magistrate’s court on Monday wearing his trademark red beret, the symbol of his movement against the long rule of President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power since 1986. Wine will return to court on 2 May, the earliest he can be freed on bail.

As Wine boarded a prison service van, his supporters chanted the slogan he has recently popularised: “People power!”

Robert Amsterdam, one of Wine’s attorneys, urged Ugandan authorities to “act immediately to release [Wine] and drop these fabricated charges”.

The popular singer has emerged as a powerful opponent to Museveni. Wine is urging Uganda’s youth to take over leadership of this east African country and has hinted he may run for the presidency in 2021.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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