Protesters in Sudan Rally Against Hike in Price of Bread

The security forces in Sudan have fired tear gas at protesters against sharp rises in the cost of bread and fuel. Marches have been held across the country. Demonstrators said live bullets were used against them in the south-eastern city of Damazin.

On Sunday, the price of bread increased by more than 40%. The cost of fuel is also soaring.

The United Nations says a third of Sudan’s population is already reliant on aid. The situation has deteriorated since last year’s coup which led to the suspension of crucial donor funds.

Sudan’s long-battered economy showed encouraging signs of recovery on the eve of a military coup last year that toppled a civilian-led government and derailed the country’s democratic transition after the ousting in April 2019 of dictator Omar Al Bashir.

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The subsequent suspension of western aid worth hundreds of millions of dollars has sent the economy reeling, wiping out the small gains made over the previous two years and pushing the country back to the international isolation it suffered under Al Bashir’s 29-year rule.

The October 25 coup sparked a series of mass street protests across the vast Afro-Arab nation to demand a return to civilian rule and for the military to quit politics. Nearly 90 protesters have been killed, most shot by security forces, and thousands were injured in those protests.

In Khartoum on Monday, witnesses said security forces opened fire to disperse the protesters although there were no immediate reports of casualties.

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“Down with military rule,” protesters chanted in Damazin, a city 450 kilometres south-east of the capital.

In Nyala, state capital of South Darfur in the west, security forces fired a barrage of teargas canisters to disperse crowds.

“No to rising costs,” protesters shouted in Nyala, as well as, “No to military rule”.

“The situation has become intolerable,” said Hamad Bashir from the railway city of Atbara, a traditional hotbed of dissent 280 kilometres north-east of Khartoum. He said rail workers had not been paid for two months.

Employees began a strike on Sunday, said head of the Railway Workers’ Union Hashem Khedr.

Protests took place on Monday in Wad Madani, south of the capital, and in Kassala in the east.

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