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Sudan’s anti-government protests expected to intensify after Friday prayers


Sudan’s anti-government protests expected to intensify after Friday prayers

Photo: AP

Anti-government protests in cities across Sudan are expected to intensify after Friday prayers today, continuing more than two weeks of unrest sparked by rising prices and good shortages.

The Sudanese economy has suffered ever since South Sudan seceded in 2011, taking with it 75% of Sudan’s original oil production and leaving a large deficit. Because any attempted austerity reforms to balance the budget have been met with protests, the government continues to overspend. This and several currency devaluations have skyrocketed inflation to 70%, up from 20% in late 2017.

Police have cracked down on recent demonstrations against long-time President Omar al-Bashir, firing tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition into crowds. Officials put the death toll at 19, although human rights organisations have reported up to 40 deaths thus far.

Such a response has only heightened opposition to the president, with many calling for his resignation. Though he has pledged possible salary hikes and further subsidies, such reforms are at best short-term solutions that could possibly calm protests but add to inflation in the long run. Regardless, these vague promises will not stop the likely violence today.

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