Khartoum closes schools, protests continue

Many schoolchildren, university students and citizens have joined the anti-government demonstrations, which entered their third consecutive day

Khartoum closes schools, protests continue

World Bulletin/News Desk

The government of Khartoum State on Wednesday ordered the closure of all the state's primary and secondary schools, with nationwide demonstrations against the federal government's decision to lift subsidies on hydrocarbons continuing for the third consecutive day.

"The state ordered closure of schools and, as I speak, we are going back home, both students and teachers," primary schoolteacher Ahmed Siddig told Anadolu Agency.

Abubakar al-Siddig, a 38-year-old secondary schoolteacher, confirmed the closure order.

"We were surprised and informed by the decision after coming to schools this morning," he told AA.

Many schoolchildren, university students and citizens have joined the anti-government demonstrations, which entered their third consecutive day on Wednesday, according to an AA correspondent in Khartoum.

Government officials, however, insist on describing the demonstrations as "limited incidents" staged by members of the rebel Sudanese Revolutionary Front.

They continue to portray the protests as "riots" carried out by homeless people and "saboteurs."

A tour of the area by an AA correspondent revealed that most of the markets in capital Khartoum were closed on Wednesday.

"We were not ordered to close, but we fear for our properties," said one supermarket guard.

The death toll from the ongoing demonstrations has risen to three in Wad Madani, the capital city of Gezira State, south of the capital.

 At least two people were killed on Tuesday as Sudanese protesters took to the streets countrywide for the second day to protest a government decision to lift subsidies on fuel and other commodities.

Ahmad Mohamed Ali, a 23-year-old resident of Wad Madani's Awoodha neighborhood, was killed in Monday's protests.

On Sunday, the federal government announced the removal of subsidies on fuel and other commodities, along with tax hikes on some goods, as part of a raft of economic reforms.

This sent prices for hydrocarbons and consumer commodities skyrocketing, sparking immediate demonstrations.

Although backed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the austerity measures – which include cutting fuel subsidies and government posts, devaluing the currency and raising taxes – sparked mass anti-regime protests last July when the government first announced them.

The popular backlash forced the government to backtrack and opt instead for the gradual implementation of the plan.

Last Mod: 25 Eylül 2013, 13:11
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