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Sudanese police disperse women demonstration against price hikes

Sudanese women shout slogans during a protest in Sanaa March 5, 2009. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah Photo)

November 20, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Dozens of Sudanese women on Sunday have staged a demonstration in the capital, Khartoum against government’s decision to raise fuel, electricity and drug prices before they were dispersed by police and security services.

On 3 November, Sudanese government lifted fuel subsidies and increased electricity price in a bid to stop the surge in inflation and control the fall of Sudanese pound in the black market.

Also, earlier this month, Central Bank of Sudan announced it will no longer provide US dollar for drug importation at rate of 7,5 Sudanese pounds (SDG) forcing pharmaceutical companies to buy the dollar from the black market at 17,5 pounds. As a result, drug prices rose by 100 to 300 percent.

On Sunday, dozens of women have staged a demonstration on Africa Street near Khartoum Airport holding banners rejecting the increase in drug price however the police and security services dispersed them by force.

A women activist who spoke to Sudan Tribune on the condition of anonymity said the call for the demonstration was made via the Facebook, pointing the police beat the demonstrators and used excessive force to disperse them.

She stressed thy will continue to protest in the coming days against price hikes, saying “tomorrow we will stage another demonstration”.

It is noteworthy that the government decision to scrap fuel, electricity and drug subsidy has stirred up small-scale protests in several towns across Sudan, including the capital Khartoum, Atbara, Wad Madani and Nyala.

Also, some two hundred private pharmacies in Khartoum went on partial strike and closed their doors from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday in protest against the government’s move.

NUP REJECTS PRICE HIKES

Meanwhile, the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) has described the government’s decision as “declaration of war against the Sudanese people”.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Sunday, said the regime has succumbed to the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the expense of the poor people.

The NUP expressed its categorical rejection for the unjustified raise in price, calling on the Sudanese to resist the decision by all peaceful means in order to force the government to reverse it.

The statement added that the NUP would stand at the forefront of the mass movement against regime’s repression, expressing full solidarity with the detained activists and doctors.

The NUP further underscored its strategic stance to overthrow the regime and establish a new regime that achieves peace, democracy and decent living.

Following the government decision to raise fuel and electricity price, the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) launched a large-scale arrest campaign and detained 20 leading figures from the Sudan Congress Party besides several members of the NUP, Sudanese Communist Party , Arab Ba’ath Party, National Alliance Forces, Reform Now Movement as well as civil society activists and journalists.

Also, the NISS detained twelve and summoned dozens of the Sudanese doctors participating in the strike that has been ongoing since last month.

(ST)