President Omar al-Bashir said that the initiators of mass unrest swept Sudan in the past few weeks, receive financial support from abroad. He said this on January 3 in Khartoum during a speech on the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of the independence of the east African state.
According to al-Bashir, the organizers of anti-government demonstrations “receive funding from abroad, and the guide to action is from the embassies of some foreign countries represented in Khartoum,” reported Al-Mayadin TV channel.
“But the Sudanese will not sell their independence for dollars,” the Sudanese leader underlined.
“Our country has been in a state of economic war for 21 years already, since the introduction of international sanctions against it,” said Al-Bashir, commenting on the difficult economic situation in Sudan. However, a way out of the crisis, he said, must be resolved within the country.
“Overcoming it will not work in one day or one night, but we know how to find a way out of the current difficult situation,” al-Bashir explained and promised “at the end of the month to start implementing the program to raise salaries in the country to the required level and support most vulnerable people. “
Demonstrations demanding President Omar al-Bashir to resign erupted in city of Port Sudan (pictured), where protesters condemned alleged repression by the government and deteriorating economic conditions, Turkish News Agency Anadolu reports.
Security forces dispersed hundreds of demonstrators with teargas, eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency.
In December, the port city saw similar protests that were also dispersed by security forces.
Protests began in Sudan on December 19 in 14 of the country’s 18 states, including capital Khartoum.
The city has handles the majority of Sudan international trade, and has an oil refinery.
Authorities are blocking access to Sudanese popular social media platforms used to organize and broadcast nationwide anti-government protests triggered by an economic crisis, internet users complain.
In a country where the state tightly controls conventional media, the internet has become a key information battleground. Of Sudan’s 40 million people, some 13 million use the internet and more than 28 million own mobile phones, local media reports.
Sudan largest opposition bloc along with the whole spectrum political groups for President Omar al-Bashir to resign, turning up the pressure on the longtime autocrat after two weeks of street protests.
Nidaa al-Sudan said in a statement that it urges Omar al-Bashir and his administration to step down to open a transition toward democracy.
Nidaa al-Sudan comprises the Umma party of former Prime Minister Sadeq al-Mahdi and rebel groups in the western Kordofan and Darfur regions, and the Blue Nile region south of Khartoum.
However the calls for resignation were met by fierce oppression demonstrators, although operating in restricted conditions, the reporters inform about use of firearms and numerous victims among unarmed civilians.
Taken into consideration severe constraints on reporting from Sudan because of Internet shutdown, silencing of social, media, and control of telephone services, reporters, and human rights defenders can only approximately estimate the number killed by the regime including while in custody. The toll is rising above hundred victims.
Sudanese police fire with live ammunition at protesters in Khartoum, as they continue to call for President Bashir to resign.
President Omar al-Bashir has promised the New Year will bring improvements, and economic development, amid his speech the security forces undertook operation dispersing anti-government protests with teargas and live ammunition.
“For the first time in history we build [the budget] on development projects … aimed at lessening people’s suffering by maintaining subsidies on certain goods and items, raising salaries, and refraining from tax burdens,” al-Bashir told a congregation in Khartoum.
Al-Bashir also referred to international cooperation and trade, with an accent on bilateral partnerships with China, Russia and Gulf States as means to reaching prosperity. “We have been engaged in strategic partnerships that aim at raising the efficiency of our economy… [and] providing a solid foundation for our national production base.”
In a speech concluding 63 years of Sudanese independence, al-Bashir said the 2019 budget, approved the end of December would help the country “brave through the current crisis“, referring to outbreak of protests over rising price and shortages of basic commodities, which has provoked demonstrations across Sudan over the past two weeks.
Nine opposition leaders and activists have been arrested in Sudan, a group of civil society groups said, the move took place ahead of the expected anti-government protests foreseen after weekly Muslim prayers.
The head of the media office at the National Intelligence and Security Service denied any involvement.
Sudan has been caught in turmoil of more than a week of anti-government protests sparked by degrading living conditions, rising prices, shortages of basic commodities and a cash crisis.
At least 19 people died during the protests, including two military personnel, however till present the exact number of victims is unknown. However, Amnesty international claimed 37 people already lost their lives, and toll of casualties of clashes between protesters, and military is continuing to rise.
A committee of groups of professionals involved in the protests said in a statement that authorities had raided a meeting of opposition leaders in Khartoum. They detained a total of nine people, including Siddiq Youssef, a prominent member of Sudan’s Communist Party, along with the leaders from the pan-Arab Ba’ath and Nasserist parties, the statement said.
The raid followed after calls for continuation of protests after the weekly noon prayers on Friday, December 28.
Tunisian authorities have arrested 18 people in the wake of protests that erupted after the suicide of a journalist who set himself on fire to protest economic problems officials said.
Among arrested 13 are from the provincial city of Kasserine and five others from Tebourba, near Tunis, Interior Ministry spokesman Sofiane Zaag said.
The most violent protests erupted in Kasserine, in west central Tunisia, where police used tear gas to disperse violent demonstrators throwing stones. According to ShemsFM radio, the military was deployed to reinforce police to deal with the protests and secure state buildings.
“In the context of ongoing popular protest against the dire socio-economic situation in Sudan and worrying reports of growing numbers of casualties, it is important to show restraint and act within the law,” the statement of the spokesperson of the European External Action Service reads. (Image above: protests).
“We expect the government of Sudan to respect the right of people to voice their concerns and respond to grievances. All law enforcement and security bodies should act under its direct control and in accordance with Sudan’s constitutional and international commitments“.
“These matters will be raised under the European Union’s phased engagement with Sudan and also within the mandate of the Independent Expert on Human Rights.”
Opposition voices propose a march on Sudanese presidential palace to demand the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar Bashir, in a potential escalation after days of protests that security forces met with violence in the capital Khartoum and cities across the country.