Uganda will hold Martyrs' Day celebrations at the Namugongo Martyrs' Shrine, located northeast of Kampala, on June 3.
Authorities announced that these celebrations will be restricted to 200 individuals and have banned pilgrims from traveling towards the Namugongo neighborhood on foot due to COVID-19 concerns; authorities canceled the event in 2020. Participants will still be allowed to embark on foot pilgrimages to attend Martyrs’ Day events in their respective locality.
Religious authorities are encouraging pilgrims across the country to follow celebrations through digital networks. Police forces are likely to introduce heightened security measures.
Checkpoints and road closures could lead to transport disruptions. Private vehicles, except those carrying VIPs, could be banned from traveling away from Kampala city center in the direction of Namugongo. Many businesses will close, as Martyrs' Day is a public holiday in Uganda.
Mass arrests are possible if officials consider any gatherings to violate COVID-19 rules. According to current domestic measures, places of worship are allowed to operate at a maximum of 200 people subject to health guidelines.
Uganda's Martyrs' Day holiday commemorates the late 19th-century martyrdom of a group of 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic men who were ordered by then-King of Buganda Mwanga II to be put to death for having converted to Christianity. Attendance usually ranges from 500,000 to one million pilgrims from Uganda and neighboring countries, including Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania.