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Sudanese security arrests opposition leaders, disperse protesters

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Sudanese opposition leaders meet at Farouk mosque in Khartoum before to be arrested by the security agents on 21 Feb 2019 (ST photo)
February 21, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese security authorities arrested a number of opposition leaders before their participation in the protests on Thursday, while police dispersed scattered demonstrations in the heart

Two months after the beginning of nationwide protests that call for al-Bashir resignation, Sudanese opposition leaders decided to take part in the weekly protest of Thursday coordinated by the Sudanese Professionals Association. (SPA)

Sources close to the Sudanese opposition told Sudan Tribune that the security forces, which were apparently watching the opposition leaders, arrested them at Farouk Mosque on the Republican Street before they join the protest.

Previously the opposition leader agreed to gather at this mosque in Central Khartoum to join the march from this meeting point.

The list of detainees includes Merriam al-Mahdi deputy leader of the National Umma Party (NUP) Sara Nugdallah NUP Secretary-General, Sudanese Communist Party Political Secretary Mokhtar al-Khatib, Mohamed Youssef Mustafa, SPA representative and professor at the University of Khartoum, Ibrahim Taha Ayoub former foreign minister, Yahya al-Hussein, head of the Sudanese Baath Party among others.

The total number of jailed politicians reached 25 people. Only six of them have been released late in the night.

The weekly protest of Thursday is supposed to be the culmination of set-ins, local protests and meeting held during the past six days.

The participation of national figures meant to escalate the protests against and mobilize the Sudanese street.

This week Sudanese authorities said they released nearly 2500 detainees. But still they keep in jail, many opposition leaders including Omer al-Digair of the Sudanese Congress Party, Mohamed Nagi al-Asam SPA spokesperson, and Siddiq Youssef leading member of the Sudanese Communist Party.

To prevent the main protest in the capital, security forces were deployed in central Khartoum early in the morning. The opposition leaders had to lead the procession to the presidential place to hand over a memorandum calling on President Omar al-Bashir to step down.

In the area of Abu Jenzir Square which is close to Al-Qasr street leading to the presidency, Toyota pickup vehicles of the security services were deployed, with men wearing military uniform. While other masked security agents monitored the surrounding areas, to prevent any gathering.

The police vehicles stationed at the entrance of the road leading to the presidential palace from the south.

Also, other security forces were deployed in several neighbouring streets and a gas launcher and police cars were also seen in the "Qandoul" roundabout in the middle of the Arab market.

Meanwhile, dozens of protestors gathered in the western side, where the main transport station is located and began chanting slogans hostile for the regime such as "freedom, peace, justice," or "the revolution is the people’s choice."

Police fired tear gas and chased protesters along the Al-Hurriya bridge in south Khartoum, and dispersed rallies in five other locations in central Khartoum.

In Burri neighbourhood, Al-Shajara, Jabrah areas of Khartoum, demonstrators took to the street, as well as similar protests in the market of Omdurman and Al-Thorah area.

In a statement released in the evening, the SPA said there were 25 protests across the country. Outside Khartoum, they said demonstrations took place in several towns of Al-Jazirah state, Port Sudan of the Red Sea State, Sennar and Kassala.

They also mentioned 15 evening protests in Khartoum State.

(ST)

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