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Small protests take place in Sudanese capital despite security measures

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September 26, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese police and its security service broke up small protests in the capital, Khartoum, on Friday organised to commemorate victims of the September 2013 anti-austerity demonstrations.

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Burning tyres set on fire by protesters in Aburof street, Omdurman on 26 September 2014 (ST)

Rights groups estimate that over 200 people were killed in a series of demonstrations in the country following the government’s decision to lift fuel subsidies on basic commodities.

The Sudanese authorities, nonetheless, admitted the violent repression on protesters but said that only 85 were killed by its forces, including plain-clothes security agents who opened fire indiscriminately and without warning.

Anti-riot police units were deployed on Friday at the strategic points in the capital and also nearby mosques and markets to clampdown any protest activists and opponents attempt to organise.

However, on Friday evening protesters took to the street in Aburof neighbourhood in Omdurman where youth activists burned tires on the main road in the area and chanted slogan hostiles to the regime, before the arrival of the security forces.

At the same time and in a preventive action, the security forces raided the premises of the Sudanese Communist Party in Al-Molazmeen neighbourhood, which not fare from Aburof, and confiscated documents, computer hard disks and 10,000 posters commemorating the victims of September protests.

In central Khartoum, the anti-riot forces and security agents in plain-clothes encircled a residence for female university students and fired tear gas on the building while the students threw stones on the police.

In Khartoum also, the police surrounded a square in Burri neighbourhood and prevented a rally in memory of a pharmacist, Salah al-Sanhouri, killed during last year protests.

The security service reportedly refused to give a permit to organise the memorial service for Sanhouri. The police refused to allow similar services in Khartoum North on Thursday evening.

Several activist were arrested by the security services to prevent the organisation of vigil for people killed last year. Further, this week police conducted precautionary arrests of opponents and activists to avert demonstrations on the first anniversary of September protests.

On Thursday, several members of opposition parties had been arrested by the security services before to release them later, including the secretary general of the National Umma Party (NUP) Sara Nugudalla, Rabah Sadiq al-Mahdi, Elham Malik, a leading member of the SPLM-N and Najat Bushra, a rights activist.

However, activists in Khartoum North neighbourhood of Shambat told Sudan Tribune that a family managed to organise a memorial service for their son, and the recently released leader of the Congress Party Ibrahim al-Sheikh attended the event.

The Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti, told Al-Jazeera TV on Friday that his government is still investigating the murder of protesters in September 2013, but asserted that the security forces had to intervene because the protests turned into riots and attacks on shops and public buildings.

On a related development, the security service prevented a NUP leading member and lawyer, Mohamed Abdallah al-Douma from travelling to Nairobi to represent Darfur lawyers association in a meeting held there.

(ST)

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