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Police use tear gas after funeral sparks violent protest in Khartoum

February 24, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – Violent protests have erupted in the Al-Shajara suburb, south of Khartoum during a funeral of a woman who died from injuries she sustained in a previous protest.

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A Sudanese demonstrator gestures during a protest in Al-Shajara suburb, south of Khartoum on 24 February 2015 (Photo: AFP/Ashraf Shazly)

According to activists in Al-Shajara, Sumia Bushra died on Monday night from wounds she sustained during protests which broke out three weeks ago, claiming that a policeman hit her in the head with his rifle butt.

They added that Bushra spent three weeks in intensive care before she died at 8pm (local time) on Monday.

Since May 2014, residents of Al-Shajara continued to protest against government decision to sell the land being used by the Armoured Corps of the Sudanese army which residents claim its ownership.

Reliable sources told Sudan Tribune that several hundreds of Al-Shajara residents gathered on Monday evening from all parts of the capital, Khartoum amid blaring speeches and rataplans before they carried the casket around the old neighbourhood and shouted slogans against the government.

Police vehicles encircled Al-Shajara neighbourhood since early Tuesday morning and fired tear gas heavily in an attempt to open the main street which protestors blocked by setting old tires on fire.

Eyewitnesses said the commissioner of the locality of Khartoum, Omer Nimir, approached the chief of Al-Hamadab clan who inhibits the area for negotiations but he withdrew after being harassed by the angry young men.

The inhabitants of the capital accuse the state governments since under the regime of president Omer al-Bashir of selling public spaces and squares in Khartoum’s neighbourhoods to influential members of the ruling party or their companies, pointing to corruption and abuse of power.

Last week, the residents of Halfayat Almolook neighbourhood in Khartoum North also demonstrated against sale of land which they claim belong to them.

Last June, police also used tear gas and batons to disperse protests in the suburbs of Alrumaila and Allambab in south Khartoum to express their rejection against the state government’s intention to sell one of the public squares.

In 2013, hundreds of Om Doum residents staged demonstrations, blockading the main street and setting tires on fire to express fury against what they say are government plans to give away part of their lands to a Saudi investor. A teenager named Mohamed Abdel-Bagi was killed in the aftermath.