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Sudanese security disperses protests, arrests university professors and journalists

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Demonstrators under Burri Bridge in Khartoum on 6 January 2019 (ST Photo)
January 6, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese security authorities Sunday dispersed demonstrators in Khartoum streets who marched towards the presidency to demand President Omer al-Bashir to step down. Also, the riot police arrested university teachers and journalists.

Sunday’s march was a continuation of the two-week nationwide protests that have posed a first serious challenge for the regime of al-Bashir following the regime’s failure solve the endemic economic crisis and the hike in bread prices.

According to the Sudanese Professional Association who called for the rally, the protesters had moved from four gathering points in key areas of Khartoum and then head towards the Presidential Palace in a synchronized manner at 1:00 pm (local time) but the security forces had already blocked these sites since the early morning.

Sudan Tribune reporters saw security forces in uniform riding white vehicles without plates roaming the area of Abu Hamama in southern Khartoum, which was supposed to be one of the gathering points of the demonstrators. The same vehicles also toured the neighbourhoods of Al-Daim which is not far from the first.

At the same time, vehicles of riot police stopped in several strategic points and patrolled other neighbourhoods near Abu Hamama to disperse any crowds.

However, despite the massive security mobilization, dozens of protesters gathered at the Jackson station for public transportation in downtown and chanted anti-government slogans but the security forces used tear gas to disperse them.

The opposition plans to organize a number of protests in the upcoming days hoping that it at least will bring the government to accept its demands for the democratic reforms and freedoms.

However, the left forces led by the Communist Party say they reject any dialogue or political compromise with the regime stressing they are determined to overthrow the regime.

Following the bloody repression of September 2013, the government proposed the national dialogue process in January 2014. However, it diverged with the main opposition groups on the need to ensure freedoms and sign peace agreements with the armed groups.

Eyewitnesses said security agents arrested dozens of protesters, mostly young women.

Also, a number of professors from the University of Khartoum were arrested outside the University as they were preparing to demonstrate.

According to a list seen by Sudan Tribune released by their colleagues, the security service arrested 20 professors and lecturers including among other: Mohamed Youssef Ahmed Mustafa, Mohamed Abdallah, Mamdouh Mohamed al-Hassan, Omer al-Hiber Youssef Nur al-Dayem, Montasser al-Tayeb, Walid Awad Hassan, Mohamed Younes.

This is is the first time that the professors of the University of Khartoum decide to participate in the anti-government protests.

Also, a security patrol arrested three journalists in central Khartoum while they were covering the demonstration: Al-Sharq Al-Awsat correspondent Ahmed Younes, and Bloomberg correspondent Mohamed Amin, and Sarah Taj Elsir of Al-Jarida newspaper.

Activists and journalists from Wad Madani say the capital of Al-Jazira State witnessed a huge demonstration on Sunday. Some went to say the mobilization was more important than Khartoum.

Also, protesters took to the street in Atbara, the capital of the River Nile State where the anti-government demonstration erupted on 19 December 2018.

(ST)

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