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Cops attack Sudan protesters at mosque

2012-07-06 20:00

Khartoum - Sudanese police used tear gas and rubber bullets to “attack” demonstrators gathered at mosques for weekly anti-regime protests sparked by inflation on Friday, a rights group said.

"Still large numbers of police forces are surrounding the central mosques," said an official of the Organisation for Defence of Rights and Freedoms, representing political, media, trade union and other activists promoting human rights.

"It seems rubber bullets and teargas were used," he said, adding that information was still preliminary.

One of the mosques targeted was that of the opposition Umma party in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman, said the official, asking not to be named.

That mosque was a focus of demonstrators a week earlier, when hundreds who gathered were also confronted with teargas and rubber bullets, witnesses said at the time.

Arrests

The official with the rights group said there had been arrests.

Dubai-based Al-Arabiya news channel said that its crew was briefly detained and the cameraman roughed up while reporting at the Omdurman mosque.

Protests against high food prices began on June 16 at the University of Khartoum.

After President Omar al-Bashir announced austerity measures, including tax hikes and an end to cheap fuel, demonstrations spread to include a cross-section of people around the capital and in other parts of Sudan.

Friday has become the focus of the demonstrations, which initially occurred with groups of 100 or 200 people burning tyres daily, throwing stones and blocking roads in a call for regime change sparked by high inflation.