The arrest of Ugandan presidential opposition candidate Bobi Wine for the second time this month has sparked nationwide protests.
According to local authorities and a report published by the Red Cross, three protesters have died and at least 34 others were injured as demonstrations became violent.
According to his staff, Wine was arrested while he was campaigning in Eastern Uganda. He was detained just weeks after an earlier arrest. Wine announced his detention in a tweet published Wednesday.
"The price of freedom is high but we shall certainly overcome," Wine said in his post.
Wine was arrested for endangering the public by violating current social-distancing restrictions. Authorities said they had repeatedly warned candidates to avoid unauthorized rallies, gatherings and processions.
Police spokesman Fred Enagna said Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, was taken into custody during his campaign in the town of Luuka. He has since been detained inside a police station in the city of Jinja.
Wine's brother and opposition activists, Fred Nyanzi, claims he and his family have been barred from contacting and seeing Wine.
Officials said Wine defied and disregarded electoral commission guidelines and knowingly endangered the public. Opposition members said the restrictions were being used to curb campaigning and to intimidate supporters.
Mugisha Muntu, another presidential candidate, said late Wednesday he would be halting his campaign until Wine was released.
Wine has openly criticized the current administration and he has become a legitimate threat to President Yoweri Museveni's three-decade rule.
Following news of Wine's arrest, hundreds of protesters gathered on the streets of Kampala, demanding his release. The government deployed police and military forces.
Protesters blocked roads and burned tires to block several roads. Police fired tear gas to disperse the growing crowds. Businesses closed as the "chaos" and "panic" escalated.