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Over 600 protesters are under arrest, Sudanese interior minister

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September 27, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s interior minister said over 600 people are detained since Monday, as protesters took to the street in the capital Khartoum and other towns after Friday prayer.

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People look on as cars are set alight during protests over fuel subsidy cuts in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on 25 September 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

While activists say over hundred people were killed by the Sudanese security since the start of the anti-austerity protests, the police admitted on Thursday the death of 29 demonstrators and accused rioters of burning 38 fuel stations.

Speaking today in a radio talk show, interior minister Ibrahim Mahmoud disclosed that the police arrested more than 600 people during protests, adding that 100 individuals are investigated and they will appear before the courts next week.

He confirmed the burning some public establishments, private vehicles and cars in the capital adding they deployed policemen to protect the 220 fuel stations in Khartoum.

He went further to say he does not rule out possible involvement of rebel groups in the "acts of sabotage".

However thousands of Sudanese significantly participated the peaceful protests against the lifting of basic commodities subsidies. The demonstrators shouted slogan against the government of Omer Al-Bashir like "The people want the fall of the regime!" and "Freedom! Freedom!".

"The police forces marched behind the demonstrations saying they want to protect them from the rioters who attack shops burn fuel stations", said an eyewitness from Khartoum’s suburb of Al-Kalaklah.

Nonetheless, reports from other parts of the capital say the police an security agents killed several peaceful protesters. Further details will emerge during the night.

Observers in Khartoum agree that Friday protests in the capital, for the first time, gathered thousands of people from the different social segments and not only youth and students.

The Sudanese army also deployed heavy armed troops in the strategic positions in the capital.

Security services believe that rebels may use the ongoing protests to attack the capital, sources say.

JOURNALISTS RESIGN TO PROTEST CENSORSHIP

Journalists of the independent newspaper Al-Sahafa decided today to resign collectively from the daily to protest against the censorship imposed by the security service which prevents them from freely covering the recent protests across the country.

Since the beginning of the protests the security services prevent the local press from publishing reports about the demonstrations and censure their articles.

Today, the security service closed the bureau of Al-Arabiya and Sky New Arabic Service television stations.

UN CONCERNED OVER ANTI-PROTEST REPRESSION

In Geneva the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Cécile Pouilly, on Friday issued a statement expressing concern following reports about excessive use of force against peaceful protesters .

"We are deeply concerned about reports that a significant number of people have been killed during the demonstrations taking place across Sudan since Monday", Pouilly said.

The spokesperson called on the Sudanese authorities to "show utmost restraint" and to refrain from resorting to violence, stressing that "under international law, intentional lethal use of firearms can only be justified when strictly unavoidable and only in order to protect life".

She called on protesters to maintain the peaceful nature of their demonstrations.

"We also urge the authorities to respect the civil liberties of those protesting and, in particular, their right to assemble peacefully and express their views,” she further said.

Earlier today, the SPLM-N released a statement urging the UN Human Rights Council and Sudan’s Special Rapporteur Mashood Adebayo Baderin, to denounce the use of live bullets against the peaceful demonstrations saying the death toll has reached 182 people.

(ST)

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