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Sudanese police clash with service protesters in central state

November 2, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – Villagers in Sudan’s central state of Al-Jazeera have been protesting against water and electricity cuts, witnesses told Sudan Tribune as the unrest entered its fourth day on Friday.

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The protests began on Tuesday when residents of Wad Al-Hadad village in south of Al-Jazeera took to the streets in demonstrations against low level of water and electricity services, and blocked the high-way road between the state capital Madani and the federal capital Khartoum.

Security forces arrested two protesters on charges of inciting the demonstration, prompting the villagers to stage a bigger protest on Wednesday, blocking the road again and setting tires on fire.

The police interfered to break up Wednesday’s demonstration and fired teargas on the protesters, which led to the eruption of clashes that led to the injury of 17 citizens and 4 policemen after their patrol vehicle capsized. The police also arrested 15 protesters.

The protests spread to nearby villages over the next two days. On Friday, residents of Wad Rabi’a village, which lies in the middle of the road between Al-Managil town and Madani, protested again against water cuts and erratic electricity supply which damaged domestic electric devices.

The police chief of Al-Jazzera State, Lt-Gen Al-Tayyib Babikir, said in a press release issued on Friday that a group of citizens from the villages of Wad Al-Hadad in Al-Jazzera South locality, and Al-Mahas Al-Raqiba in East Al-Jazzera locality, blocked the roads between Madani and Khartoum and threw stones on the police which led to the injury of some of his men.

Babikir said that his forces had dealt wisely with the situation and managed to re-open the road to traffic movement. He also said they arrested some suspects and charged them with disturbing public order. He added that the suspects would be brought to trial upon completion of investigations.

Sudan experienced a wave of Arab Spring-style protests in June and July this year but the authorities managed to nip the movement in the bud using excessive force and mass arrests among activists.

(ST)