Sudan: Austerity protests spread in Khartoum


Sudan President Omar al-Bashir addresses troops during his visit to Sudan's main petroleum center of Heglig on April 23, 2012 after the South Sudan withdrew. Bashir said there will be no more talks with South Sudan and called the South Sudanese "insects".


Ashraf Shazly

Sudan police cracked down on protesters Saturday after demonstrations against government austerity measures flared for a second week.

Protesters in the capital of Khartoum used burning tires and stones as police tried to put an end to the demonstrations, reported BBC News. The protests, which were originally led by students, are said to be spreading to other sections of the population, and the police have been ordered to act immediately to end the unrest.

At a meeting with Gen. Hashim Osman Hussein, police asked residents of Khartoum to "cooperate with the police in doing its job to enforce the law aimed at securing the homeland and its citizens," according to CNN.

CNN also reported that crowds called for the ouster of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir after Friday prayers.

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"Leave, Bashir, leave!" they chanted. "Khartoum, people, please revolt against humiliation and dictatorship."

Activists involved in the protests have been trying to trigger an "Arab Spring"-style uprising against the president since the government announced a number of austerity measures in an attempt to tackle a $2.4 billion budget deficit, reported Reuters. Security forces have been using tear gas and batons to break up the demonstrations, which have spread across several neighborhoods.

According to CNN, al-Bashir urged citizens during a television speech last week to understand the new harsh austerity measure, which slashed fuel subsidies and cut the Cabinet in half to reduce expenses.

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