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Sudan police shoot at SLM Darfur protestors

December 14 - 2009 KHARTOUM

(By Radio Dabanga)

Update 13.20 UTC – The police in Sudan shot this afternoon (Monday) at two [2] demonstrators and arrested around 30 protestors in front of the SLM-Darfur headquarters of the presidential advisor Minni Minnawi in Murda area in Khartoum. The two men were brought into the SLM-MM compound at around 15:55 local time. The organizers were asking for an ambulance but it did not come or was probably stopped by the authorities, Radio Dabanga reports.

The demonstration was organized by the main opposition parties and included some members of the SPLM, a party that has signed on with the current government of National Unity in Khartoum with the ruling party of President Omar Al Bashir. They were protesting the security laws while the National Assembly was gathering to suspend the National Security Act. The suspension was meant to allow peaceful demonstrations and to stop the random arrests after the protest last week ended in one of the worst political crises in Sudan since the peace agreement of 2005.

The demonstration was organized by the gathered opposition, but also SPLM-party members took part. Radio Dabanga reports that the secretary general of the SPLM, Pagan Amum, was heading towards the demonstration, but he was stopped at a roadblock near the bridge towards Omdurman. Last week he had been arrested for taking part in another demonstration in front of the National Assembly. All the bridges towards Omdurman from Khartoum and Bahri (North Khartoum) were blocked. This weekend it seemed that the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of president Omar Al Bashir and its Southern partner SPLM in the Government of National Unity had agreed upon a resolution of the pending conflict about the referendum for South Sudan and the National Security Act. The National Assembly decided this morning to suspend the National Security Act until a new draft has been designed. The law was used for random arrests, denying of legal support for suspects and refusing the right of peaceful demonstration in Sudan.

Several opposition leaders had gathered near the compound of the presidential advisor for Darfur, SLM-leader Minni Arkuoi Minnawi. Amongst them were a Member of Parliament of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Faruq Abu Isa and politicians of the Sudan Alliance, including Abdel Aziz Khalid. Also the secretary of Political Affairs of the Umma Party, Sarah Nuqdallah was addressing the demonstrators. After the protest was initiated, the police started to fire tear gas inside the compound of the SLM-Minnawi party headquarters. All of the demonstrators were dispersed but returned to the demonstration after the tear gas cleared out.

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