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Activists hail success of mass demo in Sudan capital

January 17 - 2018 KHARTOUM
Mass march in Khartoum on 16 January (RD)
Mass march in Khartoum on 16 January (RD)

Thousands of people took to the streets of Khartoum yesterday in peaceful popular protest against rising prices that have followed the implementation of the new national budget by the government of Sudan.

Dozens of journalists, senior leaders of political parties, civil society organisations, employees, workers, women, youth, and students participated in the march in an unprecedented scene in which police and security forces used excessive force and detained many protesters.

Despite the intensive deployment of riot police and security services and the attempt to block some streets to prevent the passage of the march, the demonstrators managed to break the security cordon in spite of tear gas, sticks, and batons. They chanted slogans describing the march as ‘peaceful against thieves’.

Mohamed Mukhtar El Khateeb, the secretary-general of the Sudanese Communist Party, who called-out the march, described the demonstration as successful.

He said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that the march achieved its objectives of rejecting the budget of 2018 and the surge of prices.

El Khateeb praised the vast participation of all groups of the Sudanese people and criticised the security services and the police for dealing violently with a peaceful march. He complained that protesters were assaulted with batons, tear gas and about 40 people were arrested.

He said in a statement to Radio Dabanga that the Party in the national capital had notified the authorities of the march so as to protect and allow it to hand over a memorandum to the Governor of Khartoum.

The Sudanese public take to the streets in Khartoum (Video: RD)

‘Excessive security and police deployment’

Journalist Adil Kolor told Radio Dabanga that the peaceful march was preceded by excessive security and police deployment in Khartoum.

He explained that since the early morning, a large force of the security and police cordoned-off the gathering point of the march at El Shuhada gardens next to the presidential palace, using a large numbers of lorries.

He pointed to the widespread deployment of security forces from the University of Khartoum in the east until the University of El Nilein in the west.

He said that the authorities managed to break the march using excessive violence, tear gas and the arrests of dozens. The march was reorganised at El Jumhuriya Street in line with other mass demonstrations that started from the University of El Nilein to Jakson Square.

Kolor said that the march achieved unprecedented success and that the opposition forces have re-taken the initiative and moved to the status of action.

He expected “major developments in the level of mass mobility in the coming days”.

Darfur displaced

As part of the reaction, the displaced people in Darfur camps announced their solidarity with the peaceful march carried out by the opposition forces in Khartoum in protest against the budget and rise of prices on Tuesday.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Sheikh Abdelrazig Yousif, the spokesman for the General Coordination Committee for Darfur Displaced and Refugees, called on the Sudanese people and the people of Darfur in particular to go out in a mass uprising in order to overthrow the regime.

He condemned the surge of prices and lack of food and medicines.

Arrests

Yesterday lawyers from Khartoum reported to Radio Dabanga that the security services arrested more than 50 people during the march, including political leaders and activists, headed by Siddig Yousif of the leadership of the Communist Party and chairman of the solidarity committee, Dr Yousif El Kouda, the head of El Wasat Party and Nahid Jabrallah, an activist and advocate for women's issues.

The security authorities turned 25 of the detainees during the demonstration to the crimes section of Khartoum North.

Lawyer Nasreldin Dafallah, a member of the Democratic Alliance of Lawyers, said a delegation of lawyers arrived to the section and found that those arrested had been faced with charges of public nuisance and breach of public safety.

He explained that the lawyers are now in the process of submitting a request to the prosecution for bailing the detainees out.

Yesterday evening the lawyer said that later 32 suspects were released, including two lawyers, while eight of them were transferred to the security services.

The lawyer also pointed out that 23 detainees have been held by the security services now.


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