Region | Sudan

1,000 held, hundreds hurt in Sudan protests

Minister calls protesters “rioters” who threaten country’s stability

  • AFP
  • Published: 16:11 July 1, 2012
  • Gulf News

Khartoum: About 1,000 people were arrested and hundreds hurt, many by tear gas, during anti-regime protests in Sudan on Friday, an activist group said on Saturday’s anniversary of President Omar Al Bashir’s coup.

The information minister called the protesters “rioters” who threaten the country’s stability.

“Some were arrested and released,” said an official from the Organisation for Defence of Rights and Freedoms.

The group’s figures indicate a dramatic rise in the number of arrests on Friday, the 14th day of anti-regime demonstrations sparked by inflation.

“The figure of those arrested before yesterday [Friday] was about 1,000 in the whole country,” said the official who asked not to be identified because of the tense situation.

Many are still being held in prisons or “ghost houses,” the location of which is unknown, he alleged.

“They don’t tell you where they are. You are not even allowed to ask,” he said.

One of those detained was Sudanese journalist Talal Sa’ad, who had taken some freelance photos of the protests to the AFP bureau in Khartoum on Friday.

Armed national security agents raided the bureau, ordered AFP’s correspondent to delete the photos and then detained Sa’ad for almost 24 hours.

Sa’ad called AFP on Saturday evening to say he had been released and was fine.

Police said “some of the rioters” were arrested and would be brought to trial after “small groups” demonstrated in Khartoum and elsewhere.

Police contained the situation “with a minimum use of force,” they said.

The Organisation for Defence of Rights and Freedoms said “a few hundred” people were injured during the Friday protests.

Many elderly people were affected by tear gas, but other injuries came from rubber bullets, tear gas canisters or beatings, the rights group official said.

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