Asia

Hundreds protest in Uganda capital against Chinese traders

FILE--In this a Tuesday, June 23, 2015 file photo,  ofChinese national Wei Kun  as he adjusts a display as he waits for customers at his shoe shop in Kampala, Uganda. Years of growing animosity at Chinese traders turned into a protest by hundreds in Uganda's capital on Wednesday April 19, 2017  against what local businesses called unfair competition, while the mayor warned against the tensions turning into xenophobic attacks. (AP Photo/Stephen Wandera-File)

FILE--In this a Tuesday, June 23, 2015 file photo, ofChinese national Wei Kun as he adjusts a display as he waits for customers at his shoe shop in Kampala, Uganda. Years of growing animosity at Chinese traders turned into a protest by hundreds in Uganda's capital on Wednesday April 19, 2017 against what local businesses called unfair competition, while the mayor warned against the tensions turning into xenophobic attacks. (AP Photo/Stephen Wandera-File)  (The Associated Press)

Hundreds of traders in Uganda's capital are protesting what they call unfair competition from Chinese investors operating retail businesses.

The protest Wednesday is backed by Kampala's mayor and other local officials.

Many shops in downtown Kampala have been shuttered by their owners. Some of them have taken to the streets carrying placards urging Chinese traders to leave the country.

Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago says the government must protect local traders to prevent the protests from escalating into xenophobic attacks against foreign traders.

Many Ugandans accuse Chinese traders of moving to the East African country as serious investors but then setting up businesses in petty trade.

Lukwago says many of the Chinese retailers sell their products at competitive prices after benefiting from tax holidays.