Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye was briefly arrested on Tuesday as he took part in a "walk-to-work" protest against surging consumer prices and wasteful government spending on the outskirts of the capital Kampala, his party said.
Opposition youths reacted angrily to his detention, hurling rocks at passing vehicles and smashing windscreens. Water canon trucks moved in and doused them in pink liquid, a Reuters witness said.
"He has been arrested. He is being held at Kasangati police station in the company of about three people he was walking with to work," Anne Mugisha, deputy foreign secretary of Besigye's Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party told Reuters by phone.
Police later said Besigye had been released and taken to his home in the Kasangati suburb.
Prices soared in September, sending inflation to 28 percent, its highest level since January 1993, inflicting further pain on consumers.
Uganda, east Africa's third biggest economy and soon-to-be oil producer, was rocked by deadly protests over the high costs of basic commodities and transport in earlier this year.
That round of protests was snuffed out by government security forces who cracked down hard on the protesters. Several demonstrators died in clashes with police. Besigye, once a close ally of President Yoweri Museveni and three times presidential election loser, ended up in hospital with serious injuries.
In May, Besigye predicted that Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, would cave under the pressure of the popular protests.