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Sudanese hold first protests without excessive violence

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Sudanese demonstrators chant slogans as they march along the street during anti-government protests in Khartoum, Sudan December 25, 2018. (Photo Reuters)
March 17, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s security forces on Sunday have allowed protesters to demonstrate in the capital streets for some time before to disperse them and arrest some of them who would be released late during the evening.

The riot police and security services, which refuse to authorize peaceful protests calling for President Omer al-Bashir to step down, used fire gas on the demonstrators and beat them in the streets before to take them to detention facilities or emergency courts.

Eyewitnesses told Sudan Tribune that security forces unusually did not intervene to disperse the protests in Omdurman as the demonstrators chanted anti-government slogans for a long time before to fire gas bombs and arrest a number of protesters.

The latter appeared immediately before the emergency judges who pronounced a verdict of acquittal and ordered their release. Among those arrested were Rabah al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, a daughter of the leader of the Umma National Party, who was participating in a protest in central Omdurman.

"The regime is trying to exploit the American delegation’s visit by sending a message to the international community about its peacefulness," said the Sudanese Professionals Association in a statement on its Facebook page.

"Thousands are now on the streets and their cheers are reaching the sky, so let’s support them and get out of neighbourhoods to the main roads to join the marches," added the statement.

The SPA, which coordinates the protests across the country for more than three months, dedicated Sunday’s protests for the unemployed youth.

Hundreds of young people demonstrated in the several areas of Omdurman and Khartoum on Sunday calling for regime change. The Central Market in Khartoum witnessed the largest rally of its kind since the protests began in mid-December.

The demonstrators chanted slogans calling for the fall of the regime and demanding freedom, peace and justice.

"I’m unemployed until I was hired by Sudanese Professionals," one of them wrote on the back of his shirt.

In Shambat and al-Shaabiya neighbourhoods of Khartoum North, there were important anti-government demonstrations.

In Khartoum, residents of Burri, Jabra, Alsahafa and the Al-Kalakala came out in demonstrations denouncing the regime and demanding its departure. Police forces fired gas tears on the protests to disperse it.

Set-ins

For the second time in a week, dozens of families of the detainees gathered outside the NISS headquarters in Khartoum on Sunday calling for the release of the detainees.

Also, in front of the National Press Council building, journalists held a sit-in to demand the release of the Editor in Chief of Al-Tayyar newspaper Osman Mirghani, who has been detained since February 22 for commenting on the emergency decision on one of the satellite channels.

The newspaper staff gave a memorandum to the secretary-general of the pro-government press council urging to secure Mirghani’s release.

They pointed out that the arrest of the editor is in breach of the Constitution and international conventions on human rights, and underscored the negative impact on Al-Tayyar staff, in addition to the damage suffered by the detainee and his family.

The security apparatus also banned the newspaper.

It is noteworthy that the security authorities Sunday allowed the publication three newspapers to resume after banning it under the pretext that they adopted an editorial line supportive to the popular protests. The three dailies are Al-Jareedah, Baath and Akhbar Al-Watan.

(ST)

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