Sudanese forces raid protest university following new anti-government demonstrations

Sudanese forces raid protest university following new anti-government demonstrations
Protesters gathered in the Sudanese capital Khartoum and its neighbour Omdurman on Monday to protest a newly-imposed state of emergency and a Sunday university raid.
3 min read
25 February, 2019
Activists say 57 have been killed in protests since December [AFP]

Protests against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's regime erupted again on Monday in the capital Khartoum and its neighbouring city Omdurman.

Demonstrators rallied in various locations against al-Bashir's imposition of a state of emergency on Friday.

Security forces engaged in what has become a pattern with protesters, who chanted popular slogan "just fall", "peacefully, peacefully against the thieves", "freedom, peace and justice", and "revolution is the people's choice" before being dispersed with the heavy use of tear gas.

A state of emergency in Sudan gives the armed forces the power to search any person or premises, arrest anyone viewed as a threat to public safety, and crucially do anything the president deems necessary to maintain security.

Bashir also dissolved the federal and local governments on Friday, appointed former Defence Minister Awad Ibnouf as vice president, and replaced the governors of Sudan's 18 provinces with military officers.

Thousands of Sudanese also protested on Sunday against the decisions, to which security forces responded with live bullets. Three people were shot - one in the head - said the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors on Sunday.

A video distributed on social media showed Sudanese protesters on Sunday expressing solidarity with demonstrators in Algeria, who are calling for a stop to President Abdulaziz Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term in office.

Students at Ahfad University for Women in Omdurman on Monday protested in solidarity with their colleagues in the University of Medical Sciences and Technology (UMST) in Khartoum, where the security forces conducted a raid on Sunday.

Student protesters gather at the Ahfad Univesity in Omdurman
Tear gas was released inside the university and students were assaulted by security forces as they attempted to protest the regime. A video distributed on social media apparently features a female UMST student being repeatedly whipped by a security official.

"A typical attitude from security personal," a University of Khartoum student tweeted.

"My sister is trapped inside UMST, she said security forces are outside breaking everything and they're hiding inside the lecture halls and they’ve blocked the doors with chairs and tables. Even the staff are hiding with them," another Twitter user wrote.

Lecturers and staff at the UMST called for a strike following Sunday's raid.

Professors at the Ahfad University announced they would not cooperate with UMST any longer, as UMST officials had allegedly cooperated with the security forces in allowing the raid to take place.

Protests in Sudan are now in their third month. They erupted when a government decision to cut surpluses led to tripled bread prices, exacerbating the financial situation of many in a country, which has witnessed a severe economic decline in recent years.

The bread protests quickly spread across the country and took on a more broad political message - calling on Bashir, who took power in a 1989 military coup, to step down.

Sudanese officials claim 30 people have died in protest-related violence, but activists put the tally at 57. They also say some of those killed died under torture. Human Rights Watch says at least 51 have been killed during the brutal crackdown.