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Spike in gas prices spurs violent protests around Sudan

By Isma'il Kushkush, CNN
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Wed September 25, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sudanese protest over economic reforms lifting gas subsidies, leading to price hikes
  • One protester shot dead in Wad Madani; police say that it's not known who shot him
  • Witnesses: Gas stations, buses, political buildings are attacked amid protests

Khartoum, Sudan (CNN) -- Civic unrest over a spike in gas prices roiled Sudan for a fourth straight day Wednesday, with gunshots ringing out around the capital of Kharthoum and elsewhere as government forces tried to clamp down.

High school- and college-age youths played a big part the first demonstration Sunday -- a day before the price hikes went into effect -- in Wad Madani, a city about 190 kilometers (120 miles) southeast of Khartoum.

One student died of gunshots during that protest. Police said that it was not known where the fatal shot came from, though activists on social media blamed police.

Hundreds joined in similar demonstrations that broke out around the country in the subsequent days.

Witnesses said some of these outbursts of public sentiment were accompanied by violence and destruction, including attacks on gas stations, damaging of buses and looting of stores. The ruling party's offices in different parts of Khartoum also came under attack.

Police responded with tear gas, according to witnesses.

There was no indication the tension was abating by Wednesday night, when the Internet appeared out and gunfire could be heard around the capital -- though it could not immediately be discerned where police or armed activists were responsible.

The origin of the unrest is a government policy, which has been debated for more than a month, to get its economic house in order.

As part of that plan, the Sudanese government lifted its subsidy on gas -- leading to prices nearly doubling overnight when the policy took effect early this week.

That's had a trickle down effect on other expenses as well, such as bus fares, and it's expected to lead to a major uptick in food prices over the coming weeks.

Aid worker dies after attack in nation of South Sudan

Journalist Isma'il Kushkush reported for CNN from Sudan. CNN's Greg Botelho contributed to this report.

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