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Police use tear gas to disperse student protests in North Darfur

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September 14, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Riot police in North Darfur capital El-Fasher used tear gas and live ammunition to disperse student demonstrators who took to the streets to protest against a teachers’ strike, which has entered its second week.

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Smoke billows from burning tyres as Sudanese demonstrators protest against rising prices near the main market of Nyala, the capital of Sudan’s South Darfur state, on 31 July 2012 (Photo: Getty Images)

Last week, more than 1,000 teachers went on strike over unpaid salary arrears since 2005. The state’s government did not fulfill its promise to settle their financial rights, prompting them to stop working.

Protestors closed all private schools in El-Fasher, saying they must show solidarity with public schools.

An official at the education ministry, who requested anonymity for security reasons, warned in a statement to Sudan Tribune that strike could extend to all educational levels in the state, noting that the issue of unpaid salary arrears affect all school levels.

A similar strike at East Darfur state capital of ed-Da’ein on 3 September led to suspension of classes in primary and high schools while the government of South Darfur state failed to end a teachers’ strike over salary arrears which amounted to 41 million pounds (SDG) as of last month.

The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in the state arrested nine teachers at the locality of El-Fasher on the fourth day of the strike.

The governor of North Darfur state, Osman Mohamed Youssef Kibir, last week accused unnamed political circles of standing behind the strike, underscoring that he would not deal with the teachers’ committee.

Kibir stressed that the teachers’ union is the sole legitimate body authorized to speak on their behalf.

He replaced five public schools principals after accusing them of encouraging teachers to engage in the strike.

On Sunday, Kibir called his cabinet for an urgent meeting to discuss the situation.

Meanwhile, The Sudanese Workers’ Trade Union Federation (SWTUF) called on the government of North Darfur to implement the federal decisions regarding teachers’ financial rights as soon as possible like the rest of the states.

The SWTF secretary of labour relations, Fath Allah Abdel-Gadir, in a statement to Ashorooq TV website last week, held the state’s government responsible for the teachers’ strike, saying it should have implemented financial decisions issued by the Federal Government Chamber (FGC) since 2005.

“States’ governments do not have an excuse to not implement federal financial decisions,” he said.

(ST)

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