Sudan fights austerity and dictatorship

This video is called Sudan: Students Face Regime.

By Jean Shaoul:

Protests in Sudan against austerity

26 June 2012

Hundreds of university students have taken to the streets of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, for seven consecutive days to protest soaring inflation, corruption and the austerity programme of the National Congress Party (NCP).

On Friday, the protests after Friday prayers spread beyond student activists in Khartoum and to Al-Obayid in north Kordofan State and other towns. Some protesters were calling for the downfall of President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir’s regime, which is backed by the army and Islamists and has been in power for 23 years.

Angry clashes broke out between demonstrators and the police. The government ordered a fierce crackdown to stop the protests spreading. Security forces blocked off the roads around the University of Khartoum, attacking students with clubs and batons, and broke up demonstrations around the universities of Khartoum in the downtown area and Omdurman with teargas.

They arrested more than 25 students on Friday and 79 in protests in the Bahari district of Khartoum the previous day. The security forces also arrested more than 40 members of opposition groups, meeting under the auspices of the Haq movement. They also targeted journalists, detaining for some hours two journalists working for Agence France-Presse and Bloomberg, and a British citizen who was taking photographs and talking to students.

The demonstrations are the first significant protests since February last year, which Bashir crushed, although there have been numerous neighbourhood protests over soaring food prices, water and electricity shutoffs, and cutbacks in public services, coupled with demonstrations against the Nile damming project in the far north.

This latest unrest broke out after the government announced plans to phase out fuel subsidies, slash jobs in the civil service—the main source of jobs for graduates—and increase taxes on consumer goods, banks and imports. The aim is to reduce the $2.4 billion government deficit, 3.6 percent of Sudan’s GDP, that is set to rise to an estimated $4 billion next year.

With the removal of subsidies, the price of petrol will rise by more than a third. The tax on imports is set to rise from 10 to 13 percent, value added tax from 15 to 17 percent, while the tax on banking profits will increase from 15 to 30 percent. This comes on top of a 35 percent hike in public transport fares. It will vastly increase the cost of living. In May, the cost of living rose by 30 percent, up from 28 percent in April.

See also here.

Thousands joined protests in Sudan last weekend to counter official celebrations for the 23rd anniversary of president Omar al-Bashir’s rule: here.

Sudan: Uprising spreads with ‘Friday of elbow licking’: here.

8 thoughts on “Sudan fights austerity and dictatorship

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