Hundreds of peaceful Sudan protesters tear-gassed

AFP , Friday 29 Jun 2012

Sudanese police fires tear gas to disperse peaceful protesters in the 14th day of anti-regime demonstrations that emerged following an inflation crisis

Sudanese police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of peaceful protesters outside an opposition party mosque on Friday, the 14th day of anti-regime demonstrations sparked by inflation, a witness said. Protesters had gathered in the capital's Hijra Square beside the mosque of the opposition Umma party.

The witness said demonstrators carried Sudanese flags and banners reading "The people want the regime to fall," a slogan used by protesters during the Arab Spring uprisings against regional strongmen over the past year.

After the tear gas and an unknown number of arrests, demonstrators burned tyres and threw stones at police before running for cover, the witness said. Demonstrators planned major protests for Friday and Saturday, the 23rd anniversary of a coup by President Omar al-Bashir.

Human rights groups say scores of people have been detained since the protests against high food prices began on June 16 at the University of Khartoum.

After Bashir announced austerity measures, including tax hikes and an end to cheap fuel, the protests spread to include a cross-section of people in numerous locations throughout the capital and other parts of Sudan.

Demonstrators, typically in groups of 100 or 200, have burned tyres, thrown stones and blocked roads in a call for regime change which has almost universally been met by police tear gas.

Bashir, suggesting that someone was behind the disturbances, has called them small-scale and not comparable to the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere. He maintains that he himself is popular.

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