Home | News    Monday 9 July 2012

Sudan breaks up student protest, arrests opposition figure as NCP says ready for snap polls

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July 8, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese police on Sunday tear-gassed students who demonstrated in the capital Khartoum while security forces detained a prominent opposition figure ahead of his participation in a famous debate show.

Protests in KhartoumEye witnesses told Sudan Tribune that anti-riot police fired tear gas to break up hundreds of students who marched out of Khartoum University chanting slogans calling for the downfall of the military rule and ousting of President Omar Al-Bashir. The protesters were beaten back after they hurled stones at the police.

Sunday’s protest is the latest in a series of small anti-regime demonstrations which have been gripping the capital and other regions towns since the government moved three weeks ago to implement an austerity plan that ended what officials described as subsidisation of fuel products in order to make up for a budget deficit of $2.4 billion US.

The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) says the deficit is a result of losing 75 percent of the country’s oil production due to South Sudan’s secession, but opposition groups point to rampant corruption, bloated government bureaucracy and overspending on defence and security.

Meanwhile, a senior government official has refused to equate the protests to the Arab Spring uprisings which ousted authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, and declared that the NCP is willing to declare snap elections if the people rejected the austerity program.

In an interview published by the Qatar based, weekly newspaper Al-Raia on Saturday, the state minister at the presidency, Amin Hassan Omer rejected the description of the protests as an Arab Spring.

Omer said that the government did expect some protests from citizens upset by austerity plans but he accused opposition groups of trying to “hijack” these protests and “harness them to serve foreign agendas”.

He went on to vilify opposition parties describing them as “parasites and opportunistic” entities seeking their narrow self-interest.

The minister said that the government does not mind the occurrence of peaceful protests whose participants express their opinions on government actions but will prevent “sabotage actions” and attempts to block roads.

Omer further announced that the NCP is ready to go to early elections if people rejected the austerity policy. “If the people decided they don’t want this policy, we will go to elections”.

The NCP won a landslide victory in the general elections of April 2010 which were marred by reports of fraud and opposition boycotts. Despite its alleged win, the NCP sought to include the two biggest opposition groups, the National Umma Party (NUP) and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), in the government it formed in December 2011, but only the DUP participated.

Omer said that the NCP is not “a despotic regime” and warned that if the government falls Sudan will descend into chaos.

In a related context, the wife of the political secretary of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), Kamal Omer, told Reuters that he was arrested at home by agents of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Saturday evening.

NISS agents had already tried to arrest Omer from his house two weeks ago but detained his son instead when they did not find him.

The arrest of Omer comes few days after opposition forces signed an agreement on overthrowing the regime. It also comes ahead of his planned participation in the famous debate show Al-Itijah Al-Mo’akis of Al-Jazzera Arabic channel against NCP representative Rabi Abdel Atti.

Local activist groups say that Sudanese authorities have arrested more than 2,000 people since the protests started on 16 June. They have reported that some of those detained have been tortured.

(ST)

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  • 9 July 2012 21:29, by Majongdit

    The regime in Khartoum amuses me.

    They keep naming people but forgot big big logs in their eye.

    According to NCP, S Sudanese are insects; Demostrators are bubbles; Opposition are parasites - what really is the NCP?

    Nothing! Nothing is much more empty than a bubble, an insect or a parasite. Nothing!

    repondre message

    • 10 July 2012 01:08, by Northern Sudanese

      Majongdit

      don’t make up lies, bashir never called southerners insects, he called SPLA insects. rioters are truly bubbles, they are less than 0.1% of sudan total population of 30 milion people. opposition parties should be called hungry hyena’s looking for power.

      repondre message

      • 10 July 2012 09:47, by okucu pa lotinokwan

        The Arabs springs has now starting coming out in a long fear.of the govt of NCP.i do believe and for sure if the NCP govt come to an end every Sudanese and S Sudanese will enjoy,likewise there will be improvement in economic of the both countries,please keep on struggling untill they will go to malayasia where they Banked all the stolen money there.

        OKUCU PA LOTINKWAN

        repondre message

  • 10 July 2012 05:59, by Daniel Buolmawei

    Northern Sudanese, there’s no way to deny this, even you always address us (South Sudanese) as insects here. Why denied it today? Just keep calling insects as usual.

    repondre message

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