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Posts tagged ‘Omdurman’

Rubber bullets, tear gas fired in Sudan protests.


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Sudanese police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of peaceful protesters on Friday, the 14th day of anti-regime demonstrations sparked by inflation, witnesses said.

Protesters had gathered in the capital’s Hijra Square beside the mosque of the opposition Umma party in Khartoum‘s twin city of Omdurman. Police said the crowd numbered in the thousands and one person was reported injured.

One 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.

Similar running battles between protesters and police occurred in the Bahri district of Khartoum, where tear gas was also fired, the witness added.

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.

Among those held Friday was Sudanese journalist Talal Saad, who had brought some freelance photos of the protests to the AFP bureau in Khartoum. Armed national security agents raided the bureau, ordered AFP’s correspondent to delete the photos and took Saad away.

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 has played down the demonstrations as small-scale and not comparable to the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere, maintaining that he himself remains popular.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

AFPAFP 

Sudanese Authorities Demolish Two Church Buildings.


Sudan church
(Reuters/Antony Njuguna )

Authorities in Khartoum demolished two church buildings last week, days after confiscating three Catholic schools, sources told Compass.

Officials from the Ministry of Planning and Housing of the local government authority on June 18 sent bulldozers that destroyed a church building belonging to the St. John Episcopal Church of Sudan, in the Haj Yousif area, an area source reported by e-mail. A Catholic church building in the area was also demolished the same day.

“The government wants to remove all churches from Khartoum,” the source said. “Tell churches, all churches, to stand on prayer for the church in Sudan.”

Clergymen said persecution was intensifying following the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, with officials targeting churches they claim to be associated with now unwelcome, largely Christian South Sudanese in the Islamic-ruled country.

The St. John church was established in 1987, but when government officials later allocated housing plots in the area, they denied church requests for their land. Christian support organization Open Doors reported that the churches were targeted on the pretext that southern Sudanese had attended services, and that since they had presumably left, the buildings were no longer necessary.

In a press statement, Open Doors noted that the church does not belong to the South Sudanese, and that the bishop is (north) Sudanese.

“It seems also that the policy of an Islamic state is being implemented, where the president said, if South Sudanese vote for secession, there will be but one religion [Islam], one language [Arabic] and one culture [Arab],” said the Rt. Rev. Ezekiel Kondo, bishop of Khartoum, according to Open Doors.

The bishop demanded the local authority of Shereq El Nail compensate the church for the destruction and allot land for the congregation.

Church leaders had sent letters to the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowment requesting that the building be spared and another plot of land be granted to the parish, but authorities refused and instead sent the bulldozers, sources told Compass.

Christian sources also reported that another church building belonging to the Full Gospel Church was destroyed in the same area two months ago, on the claim that it belonged to South Sudanese.

Schools Confiscated On June 14, the Jebel Aulia Locality Committee in south Khartoum confiscated three schools belonging to the Catholic Church, two in the Mayo area and one in nearby Omdurman, sources said.

The Jebel Aulia commissioner was acting on a letter issued by the Khartoum state minister of education calling for cancellation of official approval of the schools based on the claim that they were southern Sudanese. Both Mayo schools, however, were registered with the Ministry of Education as belonging to Khartoum dioceses.

Police officer Hassan Badawi Ahamed, executive director of the office of Jebel Aulia Locality, reportedly sent a letter dated May 30 to the Office of Secondary Education Directorate asking for termination of the two schools because they were supposedly southern Sudanese. Reports said the official letters mistakenly identified one of the schools as Comboni School of Mayo, whereas its name is Markaz El Talim El Namoziky.

School administrators raised complaints before the Jebel Aulia Locality Committee, protesting that the name of the school was not included in the government letter. The committee then went back to the Jebel Aulia Locality office and produced a new letter with the correct name of the school.

On June 13, the committee had also gone to a building belonging to the Catholic Church in Mayo to take it by force, claiming it was a school. Christians have gathered for prayer in the building since June 14 to prevent it from being confiscated, sources said.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

By Compass Direct News

Sudan austerity protests spread after Friday prayers.


KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudanese security forces clashed with anti-government protesters across Khartoum on Friday in the most widespread demonstrations to have broken out in the capital since officials unveiled tough spending cuts earlier this week.

              The demonstrations, now in their sixth day, expanded beyond the core of student activists and spread into several neighborhoods that had been quiet as hundreds of Sudanese took to the streets after Friday prayers.

              The smell of tear gas hung in the air and broken rocks covered streets as riot police and demonstrators faced off throughout the city, witnesses said. Demonstrators burned tires and security forces used batons to disperse them.

              In the first significant demonstration of the day, about 400 to 500 protesters began chanting “the people want to overthrow the regime” as they left the Imam Abdel Rahman mosque in the suburb of Omdurman, activists and two witnesses said.

As security forces gathered, the protesters called for the police to join them, chanting: “Oh police, oh police, how much is your salary and how much is a pound of sugar?”

The police fired tear gas and then used batons as they clashed with the protesters, who threw rocks back at them. Witnesses said men in civilian clothes also attacked the demonstrators.

Police were not immediately available for comment.

              Large demonstrations have been relatively rare in Sudan, which avoided the “Arab Springprotest movements which swept through neighboring Egypt and Libya. Security forces usually quickly disperse protests.

              But government measures to cut spending to plug a budget gap – including the highly unpopular move of scaling back fuel subsidies – sparked a spate of demonstrations this week.

              The country has faced soaring inflation since South Sudan seceded a year ago – taking with it about three quarters of the country’s oil production – and activists have been trying to use public frustration to build a movement to topple the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

              A BROADER BASE

Unlike previous days, when the demonstrations were led largely by students, the protesters on Friday appeared to encompass a broader segment of the capital’s population.

              At one protest in Omdurman, about 100 people chanted “Freedom, freedom” until police fired tear gas to disperse them.

              Police also fired tear gas to break up separate protests in the central neighborhoods of Burri, Khartoum Three and Al-Daim, which had previously been quiet, witnesses said.

Protesters burned tires on the streets and blocked traffic and threw rocks at security forces, they said.

Two small protests also broke out in the northern suburb of Bahri, which police dispersed with batons, activists said. A witness confirmed the account.

              About 40 people joined one protest in the area, but stopped amid a heavy security presence, while around 100 people burned tires at the other protest until police broke them up.

              Sudanese officials say they have little choice but to scale back fuel subsidies and take other sensitive measures to plug a budget deficit the finance minister has put at about $2.4 billion.

              The country had been supposed to continue collecting some revenues from South Sudan’s oil because the landlocked new nation has to export its crude through the north.

              But the two failed to set a price, and South Sudan shut down its production in January after Khartoum started confiscating some oil. African Union-brokered talks in Addis Ababa have so far failed to yield a settlement.

              Both economies were already reeling from decades of conflict, U.S. trade sanction and mismanagement.

              (Writing by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Myra MacDonald and Jon Hemming)

Source. YAHOO NEWS.

ReutersBy Alexander Dziadosz | Reuters 

Anti-government protests spread across Khartoum.


KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Anti-government protests erupted across Khartoum as Sudanese took to the streets after Friday prayers in the most widespread demonstrations yet against spending cuts unveiled this week.

              The demonstrations, now in their sixth day, expanded beyond the core of student activists and spread into several neighborhoods that had been quiet.

              The smell of teargas hung in the air and broken rocks covered streets as riot police and demonstrators faced off throughout the city, witnesses said. Demonstrators burned tires and security forces used batons to disperse them.

              Large demonstrations have been relatively rare in Sudan, which avoided the “Arab Spring” protest movements which swept through neighboring Egypt and Libya. Security forces usually quickly disperse protests.

              But government measures to cut spending to plug a budget gap – including the highly unpopular move of scaling back fuel subsidies – unleashed the protests.

              The country has faced soaring inflation since South Sudan seceded a year ago – taking with it about three quarters of the country’s oil production – and activists have been trying to use public frustration to build a movement to topple the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

              The potency of street demonstrations runs deep in public consciousness in Sudan, where popular protests toppled military rulers in 1964 and 1985, uprisings known as the October and April Revolutions.

              Protesters raced back and forth down dirt roads as police pursued them in large blue trucks and on foot, Reuters television footage showed.

              Numbers were hard to verify as pockets of hundreds of protesters swirled and dispersed in the capital, but may have totaled into the thousands throughout the day.

              In the first significant demonstration of the day, about 400 to 500 protesters began chanting “the people want to overthrow the regime” as they left the Imam Abdel Rahman mosque in the suburb of Omdurman, activists and two witnesses said.

As security forces gathered, the protesters called for the police to join them, chanting: “Oh police, oh police, how much is your salary and how much is a pound of sugar?”

The police fired teargas and then used batons as they clashed with the protesters, who threw rocks back at them. Witnesses said men in civilian clothes also attacked the demonstrators.

Police were not immediately available for comment.

BROADER BASE

Spending cuts and food prices have been the main impetus for the protests, but activists say they also share a wider set of complaints with Arab Spring protesters including corruption, police impunity and restrictions on media and other freedoms.

The government, already fighting armed insurgencies in its western Darfur region and in two southern border states, has played down the protests. Police said on Thursday said some people were trying to exaggerate the situation in the media.

The protests have gone almost entirely unmentioned in Sudanese media. Several local television channels broadcast musical concerts on Friday evening.

Unlike previous days, when the demonstrations were led largely by students, the protesters on Friday appeared to encompass a broader segment of the capital’s population.

              At one protest in Omdurman, about 100 people chanted “Freedom, freedom” until police fired teargas to disperse them.

              Police also fired teargas to break up separate protests in the central neighborhoods of Burri, Khartoum Three and Al-Daim, which had previously been quiet, witnesses said.

              Two small protests also broke out in the northern suburb of Bahri, which police dispersed with batons, activists said. A witness confirmed the account.

              About 40 people joined one protest in the area, but stopped amid a heavy security presence, while around 100 people burned tires at the other protest until police broke them up.

              Online activists said small protests also broke out in the cities of Wad Medani and Sennar and posted images they said were of those demonstrations. It was not possible to independently verify them.

              Sudanese officials say they have little choice but to scale back fuel subsidies and take other measures to plug a budget deficit the finance minister has put at about $2.4 billion.

              The country had been supposed to continue collecting some revenues from South Sudan’s oil because the landlocked new nation has to export its crude through the north.

              But the two failed to set a price, and South Sudan shut down its production in January after Khartoum started confiscating some oil. African Union-brokered talks in Addis Ababa have so far failed to yield a settlement.

              Both economies were already reeling from decades of conflict, U.S. trade sanctions and mismanagement.

              (Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

ReutersBy Alexander Dziadosz | Reuters 

Sudan police fire tear gas at fresh Khartoum demos.


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University students staged anti-regime protests in Khartoum for the fifth straight day on Wednesday, with Sudanese riot police using tear gas and batons to disperse them, witnesses said.

The demonstrations, which began on Saturday and have spread to different parts of the capital, come amid a rapidly deteriorating economic situation that has forced the government to make drastic spending cuts and driven up the cost of living.

Groups of students gathered in streets around the University of Khartoum, located next to the Blue Nile river in the city centre, shouting slogans such as “Khartoum, rise up! rise up!” and “The people want to change the regime!”

Riot police responded by firing tear gas to scatter them, while one witness said plain-clothes men carrying sticks and whips, and some wearing masks, had closed the street in front of the main university campus.

At a private business college nearby, riot police again used tear gas and batons against student protesters, thought to number about 100, who were trying to close off a main street in the centre of the capital.

In Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city, hundreds more demonstrated outside Ahlia University, as they had on Monday, denouncing the sharp rise in food prices and calling for regime change, witnesses told AFP.

Riot police then fired tear gas in a bid to scatter the protesters, some of whom responded by hurling rocks.

And in Thawra, another district of Omdurman, a group of citizens thought to number around 200 gathered in the street, burning tyres and shouting slogans condemning the government, witnesses said.

The security forces have pursued a zero tolerance policy towards dissent in recent days.

They seem particularly sensitive to demonstrations outside the University of Khartoum, Sudan’s oldest, where protests in 1964 ultimately led to a mass uprising that toppled the military dictatorship then in power, in what became known as the October Revolution.

An AFP correspondent was seized by security agents and held for more than 12 hours without charge on Tuesday after talking to students and taking pictures at the university.

The government closed the university for more than two months earlier this year after students clashed with riot police in late December, following a sit-in related to a dispute over university fees that spilled into the surrounding streets.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

AFPAFP 

Sudan Officials Threaten to Demolish Church Buildings.


Sudan church
(AP Images/Khalil Senosi)

Local authorities have threatened to demolish three church buildings in Omdurman as part of a long-standing bid to rid Sudan of Christianity, Christian sources told Compass.

Officials from the Ministry of Physical Planning and Public Utilities-Khartoum State appeared at the three church sites in Omdurman, on the Nile River opposite Khartoum, the afternoon of Sept. 11, threatening to demolish the structures if the churches continued to conduct worship services, church leaders said.

Church leaders from the three churches in the Madinat al Fath area of Omdurman – the Sudanese Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church of Sudan and the Roman Catholic Church – said they were surprised to see government officials come to their church premises and accuse them of operating churches on government land without permission.

The church leaders told Compass the buildings were not located on government land and required no permission.

They said that, starting at 2 p.m. the officials asked leaders of the Sudanese Church of Christ who had given them permission to build on government land, and then proceeded to the other two churches.

The officials marked the three church buildings for demolition with red crosses, saying, “We are going to demolish these churches,” the church leaders said.

Jaafer al Sudani, manager of Church Affairs in the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowment, told Compass that officials there had no knowledge of church buildings to be demolished.

The state planning officials insist that the churches are operating on government land.

Citing a growing tide of hostility toward Christians, members of the threatened churches said they were concerned about their future.

“These are clearly evil plans directed against churches and Christians in this country,” said Kornules Yousif, an area Christian leader.

“This is serious,” said another church member who asked to remain unnamed.

“We do not want them to demolish our churches.”

Local Muslims complain of the Christian presence in the area, Yousif said.

“Muslims say churches are not supposed to be given permission to operate because the number of Muslims is greater than that of Christians,” he said.

Area Christians told Compass they take seriously such statements by Muslims as they reveal hostile motives by both the Islamic government and Muslim communities.

“These people can do everything possible to clear this country of Christianity,” said a member of one of the threatened churches.

At the same time, area Christians said they believe the government is quietly carrying out surveys on Christians and church programs as part of a broader effort to make Islam the official state religion; officials from the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowment have called church leaders, asking them to reveal information about their church members and activities of the Churches, they said.

“This is purely for intelligence purposes, so that they can put more restrictions on churches and Christians,” said the Rev. Yousif El-Denger Kodi, general secretary of the Sudanese Lutheran Church.

“We as church leaders are aware of their plans, but we pray for God to rescue us from their evil plans.”

Islam is favored in law and policy in Sudan, according to the U.S. Department of State’s 2010 International Religious Freedom Report.

While shariah (Islamic law) is only “a source of legislation” according to the Interim National Constitution, there is a movement afoot to make Islam the official state religion following the secession of largely non-Muslim southern Sudan on July 9.

“Muslims are not happy to see churches in their areas, because they believe in Islam and fear the influence of the church, and that is why they hate to see churches,” a church leader who requested anonymity told Compass.

By COMPASS DIRECT NEWS.

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