Protests against a government austerity plan that cut subsidies and doubled the price of fuel and food broke out in Khartoum last Saturday© REUTERS/ Goran Tomasevic
KHARTOUM, June 24 (RIA Novosti)
Sudan’s top police chief has ordered his forces to quell “firmly and immediately” the anti-government demonstrations that have taken place in Khartoum and several other Sudanese cities throughout the week, the Sudanese Media Center (SMC) reported.
Lieutenant General Hashim Osman Al-Hussein told his subordinates on Saturday to “deal with riots according to the law and at the same time deal firmly, immediately and according to the law with the groups which target properties or utilities or close the roads.”
Protests against a government austerity plan that cut subsidies and doubled the price of fuel and food broke out in Khartoum last Saturday, staged by students of Khartoum University. The protests then spread to several other cities and towns in central and eastern Sudan.
A Friday rally in Khartoum gathered some 150 people, and some 200 protesters marched on Saturday in the eastern town of Gedaref, Al Jazeera said, quoting witnesses.
Protesters chanted anti-government slogans, including demands to “topple the regime,” a RIA Novosti correspondent reported.
Police used tear gas to disperse dozens of protesters who attacked a group of police officers in Khartoum, according to Sudanese state radio quoted by Al Jazeera.
Some 20 opposition activists, including a senior member of the Ummah party political bureau, Adam Gereir, have been arrested.
Al-Hussein, the police chief, called on citizens to cooperate with the authorities to “enforce the law and secure the homeland,” the Sudan Vision daily said.
Sudan has faced a $2.4bn budget deficit as it has lost billions of dollars in oil revenues since South Sudan gained independence last July. The South took most of the oil reserves when it seceded, but relies on pipelines to seaports in Sudan to export the oil.
In January, after months of stalled negotiations on an oil-sharing arrangement between the two countries, South Sudan shut down its oil production, sending Sudanese economy into a deep recession.
The annual inflation rate in Sudan increased from 28.6 percent in April to 30.4 percent in May.
Last week, Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir unveiled tough austerity measures to plug the budget deficit.
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