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Sudanese police disperse anti-dams demonstration, arrests several protesters

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In this picture released by activists, Riot policemen ask protesters to disperse from in front of Rotana Hotel in Khartoum on Wednesday 17 February 2016

February 17, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s police Wednesday have dispersed a protest in Khartoum against the building of Kajbar and Dal dams in the Northern state and arrested dozens of protesters.

Protesters have gathered from various areas in northern Sudan and Khartoum to demonstrate in front of Al-Salam Rotana Hotel where Sudanese and Saudi officials and investors were holding a forum in the presence of President Omer al-Bashir to discuss the funding of the disputed dams.

Eyewitnesses said the police used excessive force to disperse the protesters and arrested dozens, mainly women, stressing they have been taken to a police station before they were released successively.

The information official at the anti-dams committee Mohamed Mustafa said those who were arrested include Shahinaz Mustafa, May Fadl, Minas Mustafa, Mushhad Dawood and Samir Fadl, pointing that dozens of the protesters have been injured.

He told Sudan Tribune that more than 1000 people have participated in the protest, saying they held banners against the building of the dams in Dal and Kajbar areas.

Mustafa added that the protesters wanted to hand over a memo to the Saudis asking them not to fund the dam projects but were not allowed to come near the meeting venue.

“Police and security forces have used excessive force, batons and tear gas to disperse the protesters and arrested dozens of them,” he said.

On the other hand, the anti-dams committee posted in its Facebook page that the authorities released 31 protesters, pointing to ambiguity surrounding the fate of several protesters who have been taken to unknown location.

It pointed that 8 of the anti-dams committee members are still in police custody including Mohamed Jalal Ahmed Hashim, Julia Fikry, Fatima Abdalla, I’itizaz Sid Ahmed, Mohamed Abdel-Ghani, Tahani Gasim, Sabah Osman and Najm al-Din al-Basiri.

Pressure groups are active inside Sudan and abroad in opposition of three proposed dams.

The opposition for the projected dams has intensified following the signing last November of the three dams funding agreements between Sudan and Saudi Arabia, during a visit by President Bashir to Riyadh.

The Al-Shiraik, Kajbar and Dal dams in the Northern and River Nile states of Sudan are meant to produce power.

Communities to be displaced by the dam projects oppose the construction of these facilities.

Four persons from Kajbar area were killed during protests against the construction of the dam in 2007.

In April 2006 three demonstrators were killed in Amri area during protests against the Meroe project.

(ST)

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