Sudan protesters burn tyres after bread price rise

2018-01-08 05:50


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Khartoum - Sudanese police fired tear gas on Sunday at protesters burning tyres and blocking roads in Khartoum and areas of Darfur and Blue Nile states over soaring bread prices, witnesses said.

Bread prices more than doubled this week as flour manufacturers raised prices amid dwindling wheat supplies after the government decided to stop importing grain and allowed private companies to do so.

Anti-riot police fired tear gas at stone-throwing students outside Khartoum University, an AFP correspondent reported.

Similar protests erupted in war-torn areas of Darfur and Blue Nile states, witnesses said.

"No, no to high bread prices!" chanted students and residents in the Blue Nile town of Damazin, witnesses said.

Similar chants were heard at rallies in the Darfur towns of Nyala and Geneina.

Pictures and videos of protests were quickly uploaded to social media sites.

"The price of bread is only rising in Nyala because many bakeries closed due to the shortage of flour," one resident told AFP by telephone.

A government official in Nyala said the situation there was under control.

"Police have dispersed the protesters. Our security forces are ready to deal with any disturbances," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Bread prices soared after the cost of flour surged to 450 Sudanese pounds ($25) for a 50kg  sack from 167 pounds.

Leading opposition groups called for anti-government protests in response to the price rise.

Earlier on Sunday, security agents seized the print runs of six newspapers after they criticised the government over the rising cost of bread.

"No reason was given for confiscating copies of our newspaper, but I think it was due to our transparent coverage of the food price rise," said Hanadi Al-Sidiq, editor of Akhbar Al-Watan which saw its entire run seized along with Al-Tayar, Al-Mustagilla, Al-Karar, Al-Midan and Al-Assayha newspapers.

Sudanese media are often targeted over their reporting. The country regularly ranks near the bottom of international press freedom rankings.

There were also sporadic protests in late 2016 after the government cut fuel subsidies.

The authorities cracked down on those protests in an attempt to prevent a repeat of deadly unrest that followed an earlier round of subsidy cuts in 2013.

Dozens of people were killed in 2013 when security forces crushed large street demonstrations, drawing international condemnation.

Read more on:    sudan  |  east africa

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