Chaotic End, And One Death, At Second KONY2012 Screening in Uganda

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[Global: Uganda]

Conflicting Reports From Invisible Children's Kony2012 Screening in Uganda

The Black Star News has received conflicting reports from Gulu about a disruption that caused the death of a woman at a KONY2012 screening in Uganda on Friday. The U.S. ambassador and Ugandan Prime Minister had also been expected to appear at a second screening held on Saturday but cancelled.

Reached by phone, in Gulu, where the screening was held at Pece Stadium, Invisible Children publicist Florence Ogoola said Friday’s event had gone on without a hitch, except for at the very end of the screening. “We had a huge crowd, we had over 30,000 people” Ogoola said, explaining that the problem started when people began leaving the stadium. Other reports put the number of attendees closer to 10,000.

Ogoola estimated there were between 20 to 30 police officers present, but couldn’t give an official count. She said the police were “managing security” at the stadium.

A local district police commander also confirmed that there had been a “small scuffle” at the event, but said he could not explain in detail what transpired, apart from the fact that it “led to [the] injury of a police officer.”

Ogoola said Invisible Children staff took the injured policewoman to the hospital. However, several witnesses at Friday's event reported that the screening ended prematurely, with many people angered by the film’s contents and some throwing stones, targeting the organizers.

A local journalist who was present at the scene told The Black Star News that as the situation escalated, tear gas and live bullets were fired by police, and when people began to leave, police closed off an exit to the stadium, leaving only one. Pandemonium ensued, as thousands rushed to escape the live bullets and tear gas police were using to disperse them.

When asked if she was aware tear gas and live bullets had been fired, the Invisible Children publicist said that she was only aware that there was a "commotion" at the gate. 

According to witnesses at the scene, four children were injured and taken to local hospitals. One woman was said to have been killed during the chaos, but the circumstances surrounding her death are still unclear.

Many people traveled long distances to see the film. Akello Mariam, 54, expressed her disappointment with the documentary -- commenting that she was surprised to see mostly “white people.” “We expected to see Acholi in the video, they really exploited our suffering to make money,” she said, of Invisible Children.

Gulu was the epicenter of atrocities during the conflict between the LRA and Ugandan military for decades.

Invisible Children intends to continue holding screenings of the film.

The first public screening of the Kony2012 film in Uganda occurred a month earlier, in Lira, also in the north, but was stopped after audience members stoned the viewing screen, saying the film did not reflect their lives.

More to come as new details emerge.



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