Wednesday, September 25, 2013

One Person Killed in Fuel Price Protests in Sudan

Fuel price hikes trigger protests

September 25, 2013

KHARTOUM. — Sudanese police fired buckshot and tear gas yesterday to disperse demonstrators protesting against oil price hikes for the second consecutive day, witnesses said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, but police said unknown gunmen killed a demonstrator in a drive-by shooting late on Monday during a protest in the central Al-Jazeera state.

Witnesses said hundreds of protesters flooded the streets of Khartoum, its twin city Omdurman; Nyala, capital of South Darfur state and Wad Madani in Al-Jazeera state, where the protests first started.

An AFP correspondent said around 1 000 demonstrators spilled into Omdurman’s heavily populated Al-Thawra district and were confronted by anti-riot police.

Police fired fear gas to disperse the crowds, who were shouting “Freedom, Freedom” and “The people want the fall of the regime.”

The protest in Omdurman began in the early morning and demonstrators were still on the streets by mid-afternoon, the correspondent said.

Around 400 pupils also demonstrated in a north Khartoum neighbourhood and police fired tear gas at them, a witness said.

In Nyala, Sudan’s second-largest city, thousands of students filled the streets and blocked one of the city’s main roads, a resident told AFP by telephone.

He estimated their numbers at 3 000 and said they were shouting “no to price hikes” and called for the ouster of the government.
In Wadi Madani police fired buckshot at hundreds of protesters in the city’s main market, a witness said.

“There were around 300 demonstrators, mostly youths, and they marched to the market,” the witness said.

Police reinforcements were deployed to break up the protest, firing tear gas and beating demonstrators with clubs, the witness added.

On Monday, the government announced steep price rises for petroleum products after suspending subsidies as part of crucial economic reforms.

Oil prices at the pump have shot up to US$4,71) a gallon from US$2,83, while diesel has risen from £8,50 a gallon to £13,90.

Inflation in Sudan is already running at 40 percent. President Omar al-Bashir said on Sunday that the subsidies had reached “a level that is dangerous for the economy.”

Sudan lost billions of dollars in oil receipts when South Sudan gained independence two years ago, taking with it about 75 percent of the formerly united country’s crude production.

Since then Sudan has been plagued by inflation, a weakened currency and a severe shortage of dollars to pay for imports.

— AFP.

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