News24

Sudanese protesters stone govt offices

2012-07-31 14:44

Khartoum - Protesters in Sudan's troubled Darfur region stoned government offices on Tuesday during a major protest over rising prices, a witness said, in the country's latest Arab Spring-style demonstration.

Police fired tear gas at the demonstrators scattered in groups around the main market of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, he said, adding they threw stones at a state-run radio station and another government building, and erected crude roadblocks.

"I saw tyres burning in the street," he said.

Like other demonstrators in Sudan, they repeated a call made by crowds at Arab Spring protests around the region: "The people want the fall of the regime."

Demonstrations in Sudan started on 16 June when University of Khartoum students voiced their opposition to high food prices, starting the longest-running public challenge to the 23-year regime of President Omar al-Bashir.

After Bashir announced austerity measures, including tax hikes and an end to cheap fuel, scattered protests spread to include a cross-section of people, often in groups of 100 or 200, around the capital Khartoum and in other parts of Sudan.

Protests have dwindled during the holy month of Ramadan which began on 20 July.

But a strike by public transport drivers upset over high fuel prices has added to the burden of Nyala residents.

The strike apparently triggered a protest on Monday by more than 200 students, the African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (Unamid) told AFP.

Banditry, inter-tribal fighting, and clashes between rebel groups and government forces continue in Darfur although violence is much lower than its peak in 2003 and 2004 after non-Arab tribes rose up against the Khartoum government.