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Police fire on SLM demonstrators in Omdurman

December 15 - 2009 KHARTOUM

Sudanese police forcibly suppressed a demonstration by the Sudan Liberation Movement of Minni Minawi on Monday 14th. It should be noted that the demonstration was motivated by a campaign of protests that swept the country since last Monday, in an attempt to disrupt passage of the security bill prepared by the ruling party. The demonstration started peacefully at the movement’s headquarters in Omdurman but the police responded quickly and dealt with it heavy-handedly.

According to Al Fadel Tijani, political adviser to the SLM, two members of his movement were injured as a result of excessive police force against the demonstrators, one got shot in the thigh while the second was shot in the hand. In interview with Radio Dabanga he added his movement could not be able to evacuate the wounded to the hospital because of the blockade imposed on the headquarters by the police.

Sources said large numbers of politicians participated in the demonstration including Mubarak Al Fadil Al Mahadi, leader of Umma Party, (reform and renewal) and Sulaiman Hamid, member of the alliance block in the parliament. Mr Mubarak said before he was taken away by the police its quite evidenent that the country is still far from holding free and fair elections. For his part, Hamid surprisingly questioned the use of force especially after the withdrawal of the Security bill from the parliament as was agreed on in a memorandum of understanding between the parties.

In addition to Al mahadi and Hamid, police also arrested a number of prominent politicians for their participation in the rally, including Hala Abdu Al Halim, president of the Democratic Forces Front; Kamal Omar Abdelsalam, political secretary of the Popular Congress Party; Ibrahim al Sheikh, chairman of the Sudanese conference party; Mohammed Jalal Hashim; Dr Aseid Ahmad Al Khatib; Mohammed Fayed and Rabah Sadiq al Mahdi among other leaders. Some sources put the number of detainees at 18.

The U.S. envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration condemned the use of violence to silence the opponents and called upon all parties to show restraint and urged them to pursue peaceful means to express their opinions. He said this in his address to the media.


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