Dozens killed in protests against austerity and repression in Sudan
29 December 2018
At least 37 people have been killed and 219 injured during protests opposing the Sudanese government of president Omar al-Bashir. Hundreds more have been arrested in a brutal crackdown on demonstrations against the rising cost of basic commodities including bread.
Among those arrested were 14 leaders of an opposition coalition, the National Consensus Forces, including its leader, the 85-year-old Farouk Abu Issa, who is in poor health, a senior leader of Sudan’s Communist Party, as well as leaders from the pan-Arab Ba’ath and Nasserist parties. Authorities have also blocked social media sites and disrupted internet services to stop protesters communicating.
Yesterday, security forces fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters following Friday prayers outside a mosque in Omdurman, part of the Greater Khartoum conurbation.
The protests initially broke out on December 19 over the tripling in the price of bread and fuel shortages in the northeastern city of Atbara, where protesters torched the ruling National Congress Party’s offices. Atbara, is known as the “City of Steel and Fire” because of its historical importance to the rail network and the presence of a militant rail workers’ trade union that was dismantled under military rule in the 1980s.
The protests rapidly spread across Sudan’s major towns and cities, including the Riverain region—reputedly the regime’s stronghold—and the capital Khartoum, with demonstrators torching the party’s offices in Dongola. Within 24 hours, the demonstrations had escalated into a more generalized expression of opposition to years of…