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article imageProtests in Sudanese capital over austerity

By Paul Iddon     Jun 23, 2012 in Politics
Protesters in Sudan's capital Khartoum are battling police who are trying to put an end to demonstrations against austerity.
Following South Sudan's declaration of independence in July of 2011 Sudan lost some three-quarters of its oil production and as a result has seen the economy suffer.
According to recent respective reports from Al Jazeera, BBC News and the Chicago Tribune on the situation in Sudan these present protests began on the 16 of June as a reaction to government plans to slash fuel subsidies and other public spending. They were initially started by disgruntled students but are said to be rapidly spreading to other sectors of the population.
Sudan hasn't seen to an Arab Spring uprising of the type that toppled Egypt's autocrat Hosni Mubarak last year, however these new protests seem to be picking up momentum and the current protests may resonate with a populace that has grown weary with the rising cost of necessities. This coupled with the rising youth groups who are opposed to President Omar al-Bashir (who has been in power since 1989) may see a popular opposition movement -- united in its opposition to the regime in Khartoum -- begin an Arab Spring like revolt, something which the authorities in Sudan are highly fearful of.
Protesters have already had serious clashes with police, these clashes have seen to protesters burning tires in the streets, blocking roads and hurling rocks at members of the security forces. The police have been given orders to "firmly and immediately" end the demonstrations. The U.S. government and Amnesty International have scrutinized the Sudanese authorities for these actions which they define to be a crackdown.
Al-Bashir contends that the austerity measures are required to pay for the country's ongoing conflict with South Sudan and to keep the economy going since oil revenues have been hit hard following South Sudan's independence.
Khartoum is now the site of daily protests with many people defiantly chanting "the people demand to bring down the regime."
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