Home | News    Friday 18 January 2019

Sudan cracks down violently on Thursday protesters, 3 killed

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An image from AFP TV on January 17, 2019, shows people chanting and shouting during a protest against President al-Bashir (Photo AFP=)
January 17, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - At least three people were killed by Sudanese security forces on Thursday during a violent crackdown on peaceful protests in most of Khartoum neighbourhoods. Also, hundreds of young men and women have been arrested in central Khartoum as well as a number of journalists.

Thursday protests are part of demonstrations the opposition groups decided to hold to press President Omer al-Bashir to step down as a result of the endemic economic crisis the country is experiencing. They also call for the restoration of democracy after 30 years of totalitarian rule.

In the capital, the protesters said they want to reach the presidential place on Thursday to hand over a memorandum demanding al-Bashir to step down. However, the security forces, which closed all the streets leading to the presidency, violently broke up the protests using tear gas but also live ammunition.

To quell the large protest, the police and security forces deployed heavily armed vehicles in the main areas of the capital since Thursday morning. Also, all the entrances to the Arab market area in central Khartoum were closed with large numbers of four-wheel-drive vehicles with people in plain clothes carrying weapons and clubs.

They dispersed any suspected gathering of more than three people. Also, they arrested several journalists including Shamael al-Nur a prominent female journalist of Al-Tayyar newspaper, Khaled Fatehi, Mohamed Sulaiman, Mussab al-Hadi among others who came to cover the protests.

The editor-in-chief of Al-Youm Altali Muzamel Abul Gassim said masked armed men in plain clothes broke into the premises of the newspaper and searched the different offices. After what, they arrested journalists al-Zein Osman and Faisal Mohamed Saleh who had been briefly arrested two weeks ago.

Initially, the protesters had to gather in Central Khartoum at Sayed Abdel Rahman Street before to engage in El-Qasr Avenue which leads to the presidency. However, since Wednesday night the government deployed an important number of troops and closed all the roads downtown.

Despite all these security measures, large numbers of demonstrators gathered in different areas in central Khartoum chanting "Freedom, peace, justice" and calling for al-Bashir to leave.

But, the police and other security forces managed to disperse them.

Sudan Tribune journalist who covered the protests in central Khartoum said the organisers who gave the instructions for Thursday’s demonstration were not present or represented at the gathering points.

"So the protesters once attacked by the police they do not know what is the next step to undertake, because there is no leader," he added.

On Wednesday, the organizers released in the social media a detailed map for the meeting points and alternative roads in the case of closure of El-Qasr Avenue.

Besides the main protest in central Khartoum, important protests took place in other areas of Khartoum and its suburbs such as El-Daim, Alhila Aljadida, Alsahafa and Burri.

In Burri Suburb which is located in east Khartoum, protesters organized a broader demonstration that the security forces were prepared to face.

The town is known for the violence of confrontations between protesters and security forces since September 2013.

The protesters throw stones at police while shouting slogans against President al-Bashir. In return, the police fired live bullets killing two protesters, a 25-year doctor Babikir Abdel Hamid and a 14-year boy Mohamed Obeid.

Late during the night, a third victim Muawiya Bashir Khalil, a 60-year man, died at Fidail Hospital in Khartoum as he was shot by the security forces in his house because he opened his house for protesters to protect them.

The police also fired tear gas at wounded protesters treated by doctors in a home of the neighbourhood where the protests took place. Doctors said they were not able to transport them to the hospital because the police surrounded the area.

Activists released several videos showing security forces storming houses and violently beating the residents among cries of women and children.

Also, different sources confirmed that over two thousands of protesters were arrested by the police and the security service.

There was no official statement from the police or the government officials about the protests or the bloody repression that occurred in the capital.

Also, the opposition is expected to issue a statement on the protest and the way forward.

In the other parts of the country, several other protests were organized in Atbara, Madani, Sennar and Ruffa’a.

(ST)

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