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North Sudan farmer sit-ins escalate ahead of today’s protest

January 13 - 2022 ED DEBBA / MEROWE
Poster by the Sudanese Professionals Association promoting today's protests. The text says 'You won't rule us'.
Poster by the Sudanese Professionals Association promoting today's protests. The text says 'You won't rule us'.

The highway linking Egypt and Sudan has been closed to lorry traffic for the fourth consecutive day, as farmers in the Northern State protest against a surge in electricity prices.

On Wednesday, the Sovereignty Council announced a freeze on electricity prices in the agricultural, industrial, and residential sectors, however, the farmers have escalated the civil-disobedience until all demands are met.

This decision came about in a meeting at the Republican Palace with the committee charged with reviewing the increase in electricity tariffs led by Abdulgasim Bortom. The acting governor of Northern State, Awad Gadoura, pointed to the negative impact on the agricultural and industrial sectors if the surge was to continue.

The closure of the highway excludes ambulances, emergency cases, and travel buses. The closure led to the accumulation of several lorries loaded with goods destined for and coming from Egypt, near El Multaga in Ed Debba.

Farmers from El Golid also joined the protest and closed the highway after the expiry of the 72-hour deadline given to the authorities. As well as the highway closure in Ed Debba and El Golid, the Merowe-Atbara-Port Sudan road is now blocked by angry farmers in Merowe.

Farmers told Radio Dabanga that the increases on electricity prices imposed by the federal authorities affects agriculture in Nile River state and Northern State, which depend on electricity for agricultural projects.

They warned authorities of the failure of the current agricultural season, if they did not cancel these increases, especially the upcoming wheat harvest, which they said needs to be irrigated before it fails.

Sources warned of the escalation of farmers’ demands to include other sectors. Speaking for the farmers, Soheib Osman told Radio Dabanga that the current movement would escalate, if urgent solutions to include the political demands that affect the mining sectors, dams, and investment projects were not met.

The El Hafeer Unit Resistance Committees Coordination and the farmers of El Wehda in Northern State, today announced the closure of Argeen Road at Jebel Bana.

The committees made it clear in a statement that the closure of the road will start 10:00, when a convoy will head to Dongola, to participate in the January 13 Marches of the Millions declared by the resistance committees. Since Wednesday, crowds had begun to gather in the area where protesters had set up the sit-in.

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