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Hundreds of Sudan professors hold sit-in against Bashir gov’t

Sudan’s Bashir

Khartoum, Sudan | AFP | About 300 Sudanese professors and lecturers from the University of Khartoum held a sit-in protest on campus Wednesday against President Omar al-Bashir’s government, a spokesman for the group said.

Deadly protests have rocked the east African country since December 19 after a government decision to triple the price of bread.

The protests have spiralled into nationwide rallies calling for an end to the three-decade-old rule of Bashir, who swept to power in 1989 in an Islamist-backed coup.

“More than 300 professors and lecturers of the university held a sit-in today inside the campus,” Mamduh al-Hassan, the spokesman told AFP.

He said that 531 university staff members had signed a “Khartoum University Professors’ Initiative” listing a series of demands.

“The main demand is that a transitional government be formed in Sudan,” Hassan said, echoing the demand of protesters on the streets calling for an end to Bashir’s iron-fisted rule.

The University of Khartoum — the oldest university in Sudan — has often taken the lead in anti-government protests in the past.

But the current protest movement has been led by the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, an umbrella group of teachers, doctors and engineers.

Analysts say the movement has emerged as the biggest challenge yet to Bashir’s rule.

Officials say 30 people have died in violence during the protests that first erupted in the farming town of Atbara six weeks ago before spreading to Khartoum and other cities.

According to rights groups, more than 40 people have been killed.

Over 1,000 people, including protesters, opposition leaders, activists and journalists, have been arrested in a crackdown launched by authorities to quell the demonstrations, they say.

On Tuesday, the head of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) that is leading the crackdown ordered the release of all detainees held during the protests.

It remained unclear, however, if any detainees had actually been released.

For years, anger has been mounting across Sudan over growing economic hardships and deteriorating living conditions.

That ire has now spilt onto the streets, with protesters demanding Bashir’s resignation.

 

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