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Tension looms in Sudan before Friday protests

June 28, 2012 (KHARTOUM) - Tensions continued to grow in Sudan on Thursday amid calls to demonstrate after Friday prayer by activists who want to mark a turning point in the mobilisation of the Sudanese people in way to be strong and defiant enough before to overthrow the regime.

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Sudanese opposition supporters demonstrate in Khartoum against the electoral law on 7 Dec 2009 ( file/Reuters)

On the other side, internet and communication companies have shut down mobile telephone and internet networks since midnight to complicate communications during Friday demonstrations and to hamper the mobilisation.

Last Friday for the first time students were joined by other social forces in the protests opposed to the lifting of fuel subsidies and the increase of indirect taxes.

The interior minister Ibrahim Hamid told reporters on Thursday after a meeting with the vice president Al-Haj Adam Youssef that the security situation is calm in the country. He however said that the deputy president directed him to protect people and their properties from the "saboteurs".

Over 400 Sudanese lawyers organised a sit-in outside Khartoum and Omdurman courts complexes on Thursday. The protesters held banners against restrictions of freedom of expression and the recent austerity measures.

Some lawyers said their sit-in was a "rehearsal" for another large sit-in they plan to hold next Sunday.

Sudanese activities allege that the "first martyr of the uprising" died on Thursday in a hospital after tear gas suffocation in Khartoum. They also warn protesters speculating that the security services mobilised some two thousand agents to quell any protest in the capital besides mobilisation of the anti-riot


Sudan’s largest opposition party, the National Umma Party (NUP), released a statement calling for demonstrations and sit-ins to be held peacefully after Friday prayer.

The press statement criticised the poor economic conditions in the country and accused the Sudanese officials of looting the public funds and denounced their implication in the rampant corruption.

On Wednesday, the party leader Sadiq Al-Mahdi who called for a peaceful transition stressed the need for comprehensive peace and he made it a prerequisite for political stability in Sudan. He also called to establish an "adult government" and to establish positive external relations.

"All this can only be achieved under the new regime which we have been calling for," Mahdi said. He further added this regime should be established on a specific national agenda and conducted by a national team agreed by all the parties.

The former prime minister pointed out that the new regime will open a new page of regional and international relations allowing the country to end the current economic crisis and to implement development programmes through the funds allocated to Sudan by international donors but currently blocked because of Bashir’s regime.

Mahdi, who proposes an all parties conference for peace and constitutional reforms, says this solution can avoid war and troubles. He warned in the past months that the unrest might push rebels to intervene in the revolt and this lead the country to chaos.

The rebel group members of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) expressed their support to the peaceful protests in the country but warned they might only intervene if the regime use excessive violence to quell the protests.