Sudan targets demonstrators, journalists as protests continue

Al Jazeera journalists have accreditation revoked as President al-Bashir arrives in Qatar for talks.

Sudan protests
Sudanese demonstrators gather as they participate in anti-government protests in Khartoum [Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]

Sudanese police in the capital’s twin city Omdurman has fired tear gas at crowds protesting the fatal wounding of a demonstrator last week, witnesses said.

The demonstration on Tuesday, coming ahead of planned evening rallies in Omdurman and Khartoum, was the latest in more than a month of escalating protests against the three-decade rule of President Omar al-Bashir.

The crowd chanted “overthrow, overthrow” and “freedom, peace and justice”.

The doctors’ branch of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA) said one protester died on Monday from wounds sustained when demonstrators clashed with security forces in Khartoum a week earlier.

Protests also took place at al-Wataniya University, Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Khartoum, said. 

“Tear gas was once again fired at students inside the university,” said Morgan. “But people are determined to continue protesting.”

Human rights groups said several medics were among more than 40 people killed in clashes with the security forces since the protests erupted on December 19.

The authorities say 26 people have been killed, including at least one doctor, but blame rebel provocateurs they say have infiltrated the protesters’ ranks.

The mushrooming protests are widely seen as the biggest threat to al-Bashir’s iron-fisted rule since he took power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989.

Triggered by the government tripling the price of bread, which brought demonstrators onto the streets of the eastern farming hub of Atbara and other provincial towns, the protests rapidly spread to the capital and other big cities as people vented their anger.

Journalists have also faced a government crackdown in the country.

Sudan’s State Security Prosecution issued arrest warrants for 38 journalists and activists on charges of “incitement” and spreading “false news”, local media reported.

In addition, three Al Jazeera journalists have also had their accreditation revoked, the media network said on Tuesday, adding that it “denounces this arbitrary decision which lacks any credible justification and contradicts the basic norms of press freedom”.

Cash injections

Sudan has lived a chronic shortage of foreign currency since the secession of South Sudan in 2011 deprived the government of most of its oil revenues and stoked spiralling inflation and widespread shortages.

Al-Bashir, who made defiant appearances at loyalist rallies in Khartoum and other cities, arrived in Qatar on Tuesday to seek the support of his long-standing Gulf Arab ally.

Experts say cash injections from the Gulf states, led by Qatar, have helped stave off economic collapse and al-Bashir was due to hold talks in Doha seeking further support.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies