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  • A bonfire sends up smoke during protests against price increases in Atbara, Sudan.

    A bonfire sends up smoke during protests against price increases in Atbara, Sudan. | Photo: Photo: Reuters

Published 25 December 2018

“The trigger of the protests was the rise in the bread prices, but underlying these protests is a long-standing public discontent over the economic and political policies of Bashir’s regime,” a Sudanese analyst stated.

Labor protests in Sudan continue to gain strength as the Sudanese Professionals Association calls for a national work stoppage to demonstrate against hikes in prices and downward spiraling economic conditions.

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The association called for a march Tuesday going from Aby Janzir Square in central Khartoum to the presidential palace to demand that President Omar al-Bashir immediately step down and for the formation of a transitional government.

The association consists of a coalition of workers from the health, law, communications, education and engineer sectors.

Sudanese doctors are central in organizing the protests. They launched a strike Monday while still continuing to provide emergency services to the public.

The most troubling aspect of the alleged government mismanagement of economic policy is the tripling of a staple product: bread.

“The trigger of the protests was the rise in the bread prices, but underlying these protests is a long-standing public discontent over the economic and political policies of al-Bashir’s regime,” Sudanese analyst Mohamed Osman stated.

Approximately 12 people have died in a wave of protests which began last Wednesday. Other accounts by opposition groups claim that 22 people have been killed in the demonstrations.

The pressure exerted by the labor groups has mobilized the government to present an economic reform deal, “to ensure a decent living for citizens,” an official Sudanese news agency reported.

“The state will take real reforms to guarantee a decent life for citizens,” President al-Bashir said.

The protests that took place during the last week have been sporadic. Some took place in the Manaqil and Rufaa cities and another in an Omdurman football match.

The country is nearing a partial shutdown as the government implemented emergency measures, including the closing of schools and universities, a strategy aimed at weakening the demonstrations against Bashir.

Outside support for the protests has also been pouring in from the Sudanese diaspora. “The Sudanese diaspora feels very strongly about what is happening in Sudan,” Sudanese activist Wafa May Elamin said.

Elamin co-organized a protest at the Sudanese embassy in Washington D.C. Monday.

The first wave of protests against Bashir took place in 2013. Back then, the Sudanese took to the streets to demonstrate against an end to fuel and other subsidies implemented by the government. The current wave is characterized as “stronger” and more violent, “But this time, the protesters seem more determined and out of the shock of mass killing that they suffered the previous time,” Osman said.


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