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Tear gas fired as hundreds protest Sudan ‘land grab’

bashir-2
Sudan’s Bashir

Khartoum, Sudan | AFP | 

Sudanese police fired tear gas on Wednesday to break up a protest in Khartoum against what demonstrators said was a government plan to seize their land, an AFP correspondent reported.

Hundreds of people were demonstrating in the East Jreif district of the capital when clashes erupted as riot police moved in to disperse them.

Dozens of riot policemen fired tear gas canisters while demonstrators pelted them with rocks, the correspondent reported from the site of the protest.

“Our land belongs to our ancestors and the government wants to give it to investors. We are protesting to save our land,” one of the demonstrators, Ahmed Osman, told AFP.

Protesters were accusing the government of seizing their land without compensation.

Thick stench of tear gas filled the area, while angry protesters burnt tyres and tried to close off all the streets of the district.

Fifteen trucks of riot policemen armed with batons were deployed in the area.

Protests over local grievances occur frequently in Sudan but are often suppressed by police and state security agents.

A protester was killed in a similar demonstration in Jreif last year, while two students were killed in April in anti-government rallies.

But the biggest government crackdown on protesters occurred in September 2013, when dozens of demonstrators were killed during anti-austerity rallies.

Thousands of people had taken to the streets in the capital and some other regions calling for the downfall of President Omar al-Bashir’s regime after the authorities slashed fuel subsidies.

Rights group Amnesty International said at the time that about 200 people were killed, hundreds were wounded and more than 800 arrested when security forces crushed the demonstrations.

The government gave a death toll of fewer than 100.

 

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