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816 detainees in Sudan’s protests, says minister

Crowds of supporters of the Sudanese President wave sticks as they gather in Sudan's eastern city of Kassala on 7 January 2019 [AFP/Getty Images]
Crowds of supporters of the Sudanese President wave sticks as they gather in Sudan's eastern city of Kassala on 7 January 2019 [AFP/Getty Images]

Some 816 protestors have been arrested in anti-government demonstrations that have been taking place across Sudan since last month, the country’s interior minister, Ahmed Bilal, said yesterday.

Speaking at a parliamentary session convened to discuss the protests and the Sudanese authorities’ response to the ongoing crisis, Bilal explained that 19 people were reported to have been killed in the demonstrations, including two police officers.

“127 policemen were injured in the rallies and 118 government facilities – including 14 police facilities – were damaged,” he said.

The figures were the first to be disclosed by officials since the rallies erupted.

The Sudanese minister accused the demonstrators of engaging in “sabotage by receiving support from covert parties.”

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“The demonstrations began peacefully, but some thugs with a hidden agenda used them to indulge in looting and stealing,” he pointed out, adding that the situation across Sudan was now “calm and stable”.

“We won’t allow overthrowing the regime by force and the detainees have will be tried with absolute evidence,” the minister stressed.

Since 19 December, Sudan has been witnessing protests across the country against the country’s poor economic situation, tough living conditions and the increase in bread prices. The rallies started initially in Sudan’s towns and villages and later spread to the capital Khartoum.

Last week, the Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir – in power since 1989 – pledged to carry out economic reforms amid ongoing calls by the opposition to protest. He called on those who demand him to step down from power “to get prepared for the upcoming 2020 election.”

On Monday, Bashir issued a republican decree “to form a fact-finding committee – chaired by the Minister of Justice Mohamed Ahmed Salim – to investigate the country’s recent events.”

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