Protests continue to hit Sudan’s capital

October 2, 2011 (Sudan Tribune)

Protests driven by high-level prices continued to sweep over sporadic parts of the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Sunday, reaffirming public discontent with the country’s economic woes.

The wave of rare protests, which started last Tuesday in the Burri area in eastern Khartoum, quickly spread to several other areas in the capital and in the twin city of Omdurman.

Demonstrators have been shouting slogans denouncing the government as well as increases in prices.

Eye witnesses told Sudan Tribune that the protests renewed on Sunday in Hai Nasir and Burri areas, where police forces used batons and teargas to break up the demonstrators.

According to the witnesses, the protests also spilled over to the up-market area of Al-Riyad but the police also broke up the demonstrators using teargas.

Meanwhile, the authorities arrested the imam of a mosque in Alilafoon area in Khartoum north because he called for renewed protests.

Sudan’s economic situation has been rapidly deteriorating in the run up to, and after, the secession of South Sudan which took with it 75 percent of the country’s oil wealth.

This week, Sudan’s foreign minister Ali Karti painted a grim picture of the country’s economic situation, describing it as “really serious” and pleading for help to relieve Sudan’s external debts.

On the other hand, the Sudanese pound continued to slide sharply against the dollar which now sells for over five pounds on the black market, in stark contrast with the official rate of 2.7 pound for the dollar.

The Central Bank of Sudan said in a statement on Saturday that the slump in the pound’s exchange rate was due to “temporary factors”, including the leakage of Sudanese pounds from South Sudan during the currency conversion process and disbursement of severance pay recently to Southerners who worked in the federal government.

Meanwhile, the vice-president of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Nafi Ali Nafi, has accused the opposition Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) of standing behind the unrest.

Addressing a conference of the NCP’s women sector on Sunday’s evening in Khartoum, Nafi said that one of the SCP’s wealthy members was financing the demonstrations.

The authorities also arrested demonstrators and an imam of a mosque who called for protests.

Meanwhile, local newspapers received a stern warning by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) to refrain from reporting any news on the protests.

Opposition to step up anti-government campaign

The alliance of mainstream opposition parties has announced it will move to escalate dissent against the government of President Omer Al-Bashir.

Faruq Abu Issa, spokesman of the opposition alliance, said in a symposium held in Khartoum on Saturday that opposition groups were united behind the slogan of changing the regime.

The opposition spokesman blamed the worsening economic conditions on the “inept policies of the ruling National Congress Party”.

He further said that Sudan stands no chance of survival under the rule of Al-Bashir’s regime, adding that they would innovate new methods to topple the government.


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