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Water cannons end student demo against Darfur referendum

April 19 - 2016 KHARTOUM
The demonstration by Darfuri students in central Khartoum, against the referendum in the province, after they left the University of El Nilein, 18 April 2016 (RD)
The demonstration by Darfuri students in central Khartoum, against the referendum in the province, after they left the University of El Nilein, 18 April 2016 (RD)

Police used teargas and water cannons to break up a peaceful demonstration staged by students of El Nilein University in Khartoum on Monday, against the referendum in Darfur. President Al Bashir congratulated the region’s authorities on the success of the voting.

One of the students organising the ‘Not Our Choice’ campaign told Radio Dabanga that protests followed a speech by the Darfuri Students Association at the University of Nilein. The association spoke out against the holding of the administrative referendum in Darfur last week, and the current issues that concern the people in Darfur.

She said that a group of students held a silent demonstration afterwards, and headed to El Sug El Arabi neighbourhood, without carrying banners. “Police intervened and broke up the demonstration using teargas and water cannons.

“They randomly beat some of the students and dispersed them, together with residents of El Sug El Arabi,” the organiser said.

Two women students at El Nilein were detained for holding a public speech against the referendum in downtown Khartoum one week ago.

'Successful referendum'

In the Sudanese Parliament on Monday, President Omar Al Bashir reiterated the government’s commitment to respect the chosen option by the people in Darfur. He said that the referendum is the beginning of a new phase in the political life, regarding security, stability, and development in the five states in the region.

He congratulated the authorities in Darfur with the successful run of the referendum from 11 to 13 April. The selection of the administrative status of the region is the best way to express the desire of the people of Darfur, the President said.

The reportedly more than 3.5 million registered voters had the option to choose between the unification of all states in Darfur and creating a regional government, or to keep the current five-state system. The latter stipulates dissolving the Darfur Regional Authority, according to the peace agreement signed in Doha in 2011 (DDPD), presumably handing Khartoum more power over Darfur.


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