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Protests against government continue in Sudan

By Isma'il Kushkush, for CNN
updated 5:20 AM EDT, Wed October 2, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dozens of protesters at a women's university call for the government's removal
  • Police used teargas on protesters from the university the day before
  • Violent demonstrations over fuel prices began last week, resulting in deaths
  • Authorities have clamped down on local and international media

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Khartoum, Sudan (CNN) -- Fresh demonstrations against the government took place in Sudan on Tuesday, despite the use of teargas on protesters a day earlier.

Students at the Ahfad University for Women near the capital, Khartoum, rallied for a second day, calling for the removal of President Omar al-Bashir and his government.

"The people want to bring down the regime!" chanted dozens of students inside the university campus. Their numbers were smaller than on Monday, when police used teargas on protesters from the university who had taken to a nearby street.

Authorities arrested at least five youth activists on Tuesday.

A number of youth groups, political opposition parties, independent trade unions and a coalition of civil society organizations have called for the immediate resignation of the government and the dissolution of legislative bodies. They want the formation of a transitional government based on a cross-section of Sudanese society.

Anger over fuel prices

Violent protests against the lifting of government gas subsidies in Sudan -- a move that nearly doubled the price of gasoline -- began last week in the central Sudanese town of Wad Medani then spread to the capital.

At a news conference on Monday, government officials said that 34 people have died in the violence and that 700 people have been arrested during the protests and.

But activists, opposition groups and international human rights groups say the number of deaths is higher.

The African Center for Justice and Peace Studies, based in New York, and Amnesty International say that at least 50 protesters were killed on Sept. 24 and Sept. 25 after "being shot in the chest or head" by Sudanese security forces.

Local activists, including the youth group Sudan Change Now, have put the number of people killed above 200, saying they got the information from a medical source at Khartoum hospital.

CNN hasn't been able to independently establish the death toll.

Media clampdown

The anti-government demonstrations have also prompted a crackdown on local and international media. On Saturday, Sudanese authorities suspended the operations of two pan-Arab satellite TV stations, Al-Arabiya and Sky News Arabia.

Sudanese Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman on Monday accused Al-Arabiya of trying to "manufacture an Arab Spring in Sudan."

A number of local newspapers have been suspended or confiscated.

Interior Minister Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid alleged that many of the photographs of demonstrations and dead protestors circulating were fabricated.

"Most pictures on social media are actually from Egypt," he said Monday.

During the news conference, a local Sudanese journalist took the microphone and shouted: "Why do you insist on lying?"

Osman, the information minister, responded angrily, asking the journalist to ask a proper question. But he said officials would look into the journalist's allegations.

The Sudanese government has not so far faced an uprising like those that brought upheaval in its neighbors Egypt and Tunisia, despite anti-government demonstrations in 2011 and 2012.

But two military dictatorships in recent Sudanese history were brought down by protests, in 1964 and 1985.

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