CAIRO, September. (Itar-Tass) – Anti-governmental protests escalate in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. According to Arab TV channels, disorders are spread across a number of districts. The number of dead and injured is yet unknown.
The riots which have been raging across the city for two days now with the majority of protestors being youths, were sparked by the government’s decision to cancel state subsidies for petrol and diesel fuel as part of ongoing economic reforms. The price of gas has immediately doubled, which became the biggest price hike in almost 25 years of Omar al-Bashir’s rule.
Khartoum demonstrations began Tuesday; disorders spread to at least six districts by Wednesday. Demonstrators burned down several gas stations, blocked a highway connecting the city to the international airport near an upscale Rotana hotel; cars located at the hotel’s parking lot were burned down as well.
Black smoke clouds of smoke tower above Sudan’s capital. Protestors block major traffic arteries, burn tires and throw rocks at the police who try to disperse the crowds. The authorities are trying to gain control over the situation by deploying tear gas canisters.
According to official figures, one demonstrator died in the riots. Representatives of the police, he was shot by criminals in a drive-by incident. Meanwhile, human rights organizations report at least three casualties.
Eyewitnesses claim that hundreds of police officers are on Khartoum’s streets; many are equipped with firearms. Moreover, plainclothes officers are also attempting to disperse the crowds. Government buildings are under special protection.
The authorities have blocked internet in Khartoum. There were no official statements regarding this decision; however, local observers believe that it’s directly linked with disorders, drawing parallels with riots in Egypt and Libya. The government also declared extra school vacations across Khartoum province until September 30.