News from Khartoum
Detentions continue against protesters
In the most recent wave of protests erupting in universities in Khartoum against price-hike, riot police used teargas against the students and classes were suspended for one day in one of the universities. Hundreds of female students of the University of Ahfad demonstrated on Monday and the following day saw coordination among students through SMS and other social media including WhatsApp, according to a woman who spoke to Radio Dabanga.
The demonstrations disrupted classes in the university as students left lecture halls to take part in the protests, standing near the university campus chanting slogans against economic policies of the Sudanese government. Students of the University of Khartoum demonstrated for the fourth consecutive day against rising prices of bread and other consumer commodities. Three students were detained when they joined other students to urge the public to denounce government’s economic policies. Security forces and riot police which cordoned off yesterday the university premises used teargas to disperse the students, with some students retaliating with stone throwing. Security vehicles blocked main routes leading to the main gate of the university campus and continued to fire teargas on students.
Professors of the University of Khartoum in statement issued on Wednesday strongly condemned the violence used by security forces in dealing with students over the three days of protests. The professors said they hold the administration responsible for the security forces break-in of the university campus to detain three students. Mohamed Yusuf Ahmed Al Mustafa, a professor of the university said they are concerned over the use of excessive force and assault on students and the campus including firing teargas on the people. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, Al Mustafa said students have the right to peacefully express their rejection of the government economic policies and the rising prices of commodities.
The government raised the rate of custom dollar from SDG 6.7 to SDG 18 at the end of December in a bid to curb the rising rate of the dollar against the Sudanese pound in the black market. After this measure, price of commodities shot up further during the first week of January. The price of a piece of bread rose from SDG0.50 to SDG1.00 (USD0.14).
In statement it issued today, the European Union Mission said ambassadors are closely monitoring the protests and detentions targeting several political leaders. “It is important to allow the people to exercise their right to freedom of expression including the freedom of press and political participation and at the same time we urge those who exercise their fundamental freedoms to express their opinions in a peaceful manner,” the statement said.
Freedom of expression and peaceful protest as a form of expression guaranteed by the constitution and human rights instruments has been denied by the government and peaceful protesters are unlawfully detained.