Kizza Besigye landed in Uganda one day after being prevented from flying home on a Kenya Airways flight. His vehicle was mobbed by supporters while travelling towards the capital, Kampala, where President Yoweri Museveni took the oath of office as several visiting African heads of state looked on.

Police in Uganda sprayed tear gas at rock—throwing opposition supporters on Thursday, officials said, after the country’s top opposition leader returned home and while the 25—year leader was sworn in to a fourth term.

Kizza Besigye landed in Uganda one day after being prevented from flying home on a Kenya Airways flight. His vehicle was mobbed by supporters while travelling towards the capital, Kampala, where President Yoweri Museveni took the oath of office as several visiting African heads of state looked on.

Thousands of supporters lined the road to welcome Mr. Besigye, who travelled to Kenya for medical treatment after a brutal arrest by security forces, who fired tear gas or pepper spray at the opposition leader at point—blank range.

Police again fired tear gas on Thursday, said Anne Mugisha, a top leader in Mr. Besigye’s political party. She said police appeared to be trying to open the road, and that Mr. Besigye’s supporters later hurled stones at security forces. Mr. Besigye’s drive along the 20—mile (35—kilometer) route took several hours.

Police spokeswoman Judith Nabakooba said authorities wanted Mr. Besigye to use a different route but that he refused.

“They have inconvenienced many people, including those supposed to catch their flights,” she said.

Mr. Besigye over the last month has been leading “walk to work” protests over the rising cost of food and fuel. Mr. Besigye, whom Mr. Museveni defeated in his February re—election win, said the marches are also to protest government corruption.

Those marches have been the most serious unrest in sub—Saharan Africa since protests swept out leaders in Egypt and Tunisia. Mr. Museveni has been in power for 25 years and says he will not be swept from office by Egypt—style protests.

A 21—gun salute rang out before a crowd of thousands who watched the country’s chief justice administer an oath to Mr. Museveni. Leaders from Kenya, Tanzania, Southern Sudan, Nigeria, Congo, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe attended the ceremony.

Mr. Museveni appeared to make reference to Mr. Besigye in a speech, saying that opponents wanted to cause chaos but that their “disruptive schemes” will be defeated.

Mr. Museveni said the country would begin pumping oil within three years, and that Uganda would no longer need to rely on imports.

He also sought to highlight the country’s progress in the last 25 years, saying that eight million primary students are in school today compared with 2.5 million in 1986. He also promised to fight corruption.

Mr. Museveni also indulged in a moment of self—congratulations, saying- “I thank the Ugandans for overwhelmingly voting for me with 68.3 percent.”

Although official returns showed Mr. Museveni winning that amount, Mr. Besigye says the results were falsified, and that Mr. Museveni and Mr. Besigye both received a bit under 50 percent of the vote, an outcome that would have required a run—off.

Security forces lined the route from Entebbe, the location of Uganda’s main airport, to Kampala, the capital, as Mr. Besigye arrived.

Uganda has seen sharp spikes in food and fuel prices the last several months, making car or bus travel unaffordable for many. Anger over the increases has fuelled Mr. Besigye’s protests, and security forces have clashed with protesters around the country. Human Rights Watch says government forces have shot and killed nine people during crackdowns on protests.

Mr. Museveni, an ex—rebel commander who seized power at the head of a guerrilla army in 1986, once criticized African rulers who clung to power. In 2001 he promised to retire from politics despite lifting a two—term limit on the presidency so he could run again in 2006. But now Mr. Museveni says he is fostering peace, stability and growth.

African strongmen of old are under increasing pressure. Muammar Qadhafi, who has ruled Libya since 1969, is battling attacks from Libyan rebels and NATO. Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, who attended Thursday’s inauguration, has been in power since 1980. He has refused to accept a 2008 election defeat.

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