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NISS detains dozens during Khartoum protest

February 2 - 2018 KHARTOUM NORTH
Riot police block El Shaabi Square in Khartoum Bahri on Wednesday against the planned protest march (RD)
Riot police block El Shaabi Square in Khartoum Bahri on Wednesday against the planned protest march (RD)

Opposition parties reported that more than 40 people were or remain detained against the backdrop of a large demonstration in Khartoum North on Wednesday. Another leading opposition member has been placed under arrest.

Groups of the opposition, civil society, youth and women planned a peaceful march against the soaring prices of food and medicines in Sudan at El Shaabi Square in Khartoum North on Wednesday. Police in riot gear and columns of vehicles blocked the perimeter of El Shaabi Square and confronted protesters in the surrounding streets using tear gas and vehicle charges.

Video compilation (RD)

Yesterday, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) arrested Maj.-Gen. Fadlallah Burma Nasir, the co-vice-president of the National Umma Party, from his house in Khartoum. Lawyer and human rights defender Saleh Mahmoud, a member of the the Communist Party, was arrested in his office in Khartoum.

Nasir had addressed a press conference representing the Sudan Call on Wednesday. He and Mahmoud have been taken to an undisclosed location, to join the detained opposition leaders, activists, and journalists whom are being held by the NISS.

The day before his arrest, Nasir told Radio Dabanga that the march in Bahri “was greater than any marches in Khartoum and Omdurman. The demonstrator were brave and commited to the peaceful nature of the protests despite the excessive violence of the authorities.”

Nasir claimed that the police used less violence against the march in Bahri compared to earlier demonstrations in Khartoum and Omdurman.

Security apparatus prepared

Dozens of demonstrators at El Shabi Square were detained by the security apparatus. Journalists at the scene told Radio Dabanga that the NISS had occupied the square since early morning, and a joint security and riot police force surrounded the square and blocked its entrance.

“The NISS has gained experience to prepare itself well against the protests.”

They used the narrow corridors leading to the square as a trap to arrest demonstrators, journalist Bahram Abdel Munim said in an interview with Radio Dabanga. “I have seen a number of people being severely beaten.

“The crowd initially was big, but the security service prevented people access to the square, which prompted people to scatter in several protests in the surrounding streets.”

Journalist Ahmed Younis described the number of participants in the march in Bahri as “greater than the number of protesters in Khartoum and Omdurman”.

“Early preparations by the NISS and its experience gained in previous protests […] have contributed significantly to setting apart the masses from the gathering in one place,” Younis said, explaining that this may result in demonstrations becoming more organised.

“The situation of increased prices and the ecnomic collapse can drive thousands of people, if not millions, to participate in such upcoming demonstrations.”

Politicians detained

In addition, former Sudan Congress Party (SCP) leader Ibrahim El Sheikh’s daughters have been detained from their family house in El Safiya. El Sheikh was arrested on January 7.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga today, Mohamed Faroug, spokesman for the Sudan Call (coalition of opposition, armed movements and civil society) condemned the arrests.

“The opposition and Sudanese people will continue the protests to condemn the rise of prices and to reject the annual budget for 2018.” He praised demonstrators and their commitment to peaceful protesting in a number of cities such as the student manifestations in Singa (Sennar) and Wad Madani (El Gezira).

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