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Sudan Security Act suspended but 30 people arrested in Khartoum

December 14 - 2009 KHARTOUM

(By Radio Dabanga)

Today (Monday) around 30 demonstrators have been arrested by the Sudanese police in front of the building of the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minnawi in the Murda area in Khartoum. 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 collective opposition, but SPLM party members also took part. Radio Dabanga reports that the secretary general of the SPLM, Pagan Amum, was heading towards this latest demonstration when 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 in the Government of National Unity, SPLM,  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. At today’s demonstration, several opposition leaders 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 more than 100 demonstrators. After their protest had commenced, the police started to fire tear gas inside the compound of the SLM-Minnawi party headquarters forcing the office workers to leave. All the demonstrators were dispersed.

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