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Sudan Witnesses Wave of Arrests as 'Bread Protests' Widen

Sudan Witnesses Wave of Arrests as 'Bread Protests' Widen

Monday, 8 January, 2018 - 07:45
The price of bread in Sudan has more than doubled (AFP Photo/ASHRAF SHAZLY)

Protests over hiking prices of bread and other consumer goods expanded across Sudan, as demonstrations were renewed in several governorates in addition to protests led by Khartoum University students.


Sudanese authorities began a wave of arrests against political leaders. The opposition “Congress Party” said that the security and intelligence apparatus arrested its head Omar al-Dukir of North Kordofan and human rights officer Jalal Mustafa. It added that a number of security officers besieged the house of former party president Ibrahim Sheikh. The party had previously announced its rejection of the decisions that led to the rise of prices.


The “Reform Now Movement”, led by dissident leader of the ruling National Congress Party, Ghazi Salah Eddin al-Atabani, criticized what it called “the campaign of the security apparatuses against press and political freedoms.” Security authorities blocked the sale of six daily newspapers without giving reasons.


The Movement said that arrests of politicians and the seizing of newspapers were an attempt “to cover up the economic disaster that has plagued the country as a result of irresponsible government policies.”


According to media reports, authorities in West Darfur suspended classes in public and private schools, in the wake of protests organized by students.


Meanwhile, Minister of State for the Interior Ministry Babkar Daqna denied demonstrations were in response to price hikes and said that destructive protesters will be “dealt with forcefully,” state news agency SUNA reported.


In comments to the media, he said: “I do not have information about demonstrations and the expression of anything is allowed; but destruction is forbidden; and we will repress any sabotage operations.”


Protests began on Friday as Sudan devalued its pound currency to 18 per US dollar, more than double its previous peg of 6.7 pounds to the dollar. The rate on the black market hit about 29 pounds to the dollar last week.

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