Violent Backlash Against Growing Sudanese Student Movement
June 23, 2012
Sudan’s police force ordered its officers to put an end to the demonstrations “immediately”, state media said, after the protests spread throughout the capital a day earlier expanding beyond the core of student activists initially involved.
Angered by a raft of planned austerity measures meant to tackle the country’s $2.4 billion budget deficit, activists have tried to use discontent over a worsening economic crisis to trigger an “Arab Spring”-style uprising against the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
Security forces have used teargas and batons to break up the demonstrations, which have taken place in several neighborhoods but have never garnered more than a few hundred people.
On Saturday, the smell of teargas hung in the air and smoke rose from burning tires amid a heavy security presence in the Al-Daim neighborhood, which was also the site of some of the larger protests a day earlier.
A Reuters correspondent saw around 300 to 400 demonstrators, but it was difficult to estimate the total number of protesters as they were scattered in small groups on different streets.
Protests followed the same pattern in the Sajjana neighborhood, where small groups of demonstrators moved through side streets, blocked roads, burned tires and chanted “freedom, freedom”, and “the people want to overthrow the regime”.
In January, last year, similar protests broke out after students in the nation vowed to replicate the Arab Spring that has swept over the Middle East. The government cracked down on those protests harshly too. But with the experience of last year’s social movement, can the people of Sudan turn this movement into something capable of stopping the oppressive Sudanese government? thepeoplesrecord.com will continue to monitor the situation.