Sudan hit by violent protests over economic hardship

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 20.12.2018 21:45
Updated 21.12.2018 08:00

Thousands took to the streets in several Sudanese towns to protest economic hardship, especially higher bread prices, with a mob in the northern city of Atbara torching the ruling party's offices, activists said yesterday. At least two people were killed during protests in the Sudanese city of al-Qadarif yesterday, a member of parliament said.

"The situation in al-Qadarif has become dangerous and the protests have developed to include fires and theft and it's now out of control," said lawmaker Mubarak al-Nur.

A video clip obtained by The Associated Press late Wednesday showed the headquarters of President Omar Bashir's National Congress Party in Atbara engulfed in flames. Vehicles parked outside were also torched. Protests that started in the city of Atbara in northeastern Sudan on Wednesday spread to al-Qadarif as well as the capital Khartoum and other cities yesterday. Northeastern Sudan's Nile River State declared a state of emergency Wednesday in the city of Atbara in the wake of protests.

The protests coincided with the return to Sudan of opposition leader Sadeq al-Mahdi, the country's last freely elected leader, whose government was overthrown in a 1989 military coup led by Bashir. Al-Mahdi was living in self-imposed exile outside Sudan for nearly a year. Thousands of his supporters welcomed him home on Wednesday. Lawmakers loyal to Bashir are rallying support to amend the constitution to allow the Sudanese leader to run for re-election in 2020.

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