Protest in Sudan against rising bread prices

A Sudanese man works at a bakery in the capital Khartoum on Jan. 5, 2018. Police fired tear gas on Saturday at groups of students protesting in a central Sudanese town against soaring bread prices, according to witnesses.(AFP)
Updated 06 January 2018
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Protest in Sudan against rising bread prices

KHARTOUM: Police fired tear gas on Saturday at groups of students protesting in a central Sudanese town against soaring bread prices, witnesses said, as opposition parties called for anti-government demonstrations.
Bread prices almost doubled on Friday across Sudan after flour manufacturers raised prices amid dwindling supply of wheat following a government decision to stop importing the grain and allow private companies to do so.
“Citizens, demand your rights,” shouted university students in the central Sudanese town of Sennar as dozens of residents joined them in a sporadic march against the rise in bread prices, witnesses said.
Police fired tear gas to break the protest while shopkeepers closed their shops in the town’s main market, witnesses and residents from Sennar told AFP by telephone.
“The police fired tear gas at protesters. I had to close my shop as demonstrators approached the market,” a shopkeeper said on condition of anonymity.
Pictures and videos of protesters chanting anti-government slogans and burning tires in the streets were uploaded on several social media websites.
Flour manufacturers have raised the price of a 50-kilo (110 pounds) sack of wheat flour from 167 to 450 Sudanese pounds ($65, 54 euros), Mohamed Al-Saeed, a member of a barky owners’ union, has told AFP.
That sent bread prices soaring and in response leading opposition groups have called for anti-government protests across the country.
“The Umma Party calls on all its members and Sudanese citizens to protest peacefully against the rise in bread prices,” the main opposition party said in a statement.
“The only way to solve this problem is to overthrow the regime,” it added.
The opposition Communist Party and the Sudanese Congress Party also called for anti-government protests.
“The only way to defeat this regime is to go in the streets and demonstrate to get back the dignity of Sudanese people and their freedoms,” the Communist Party said.
“People have to protest against these economic policies.”
Sudan had witnessed sporadic protests in late 2016 after a government decision to cut fuel subsidies.
The authorities had cracked down on those protests in an attempt to prevent a repeat of the deadly unrest that followed a similar round of subsidy cuts in 2013.
Dozens of people were killed in 2013 protests when security forces crushed large street demonstrations, drawing international condemnation.


Life must go on for Libyans despite war on their doorstep

Updated 4 min 11 sec ago
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Life must go on for Libyans despite war on their doorstep

  • “Life has to go on. It will end when it ends,” said Samira, who runs a salon in Tripoli

TRIPOLI: Despite the war on Tripoli’s doorstep, residents are filling the salons and cafes in some quarters of the Libyan capital as they carry on as best they can.

“Life has to go on. It will end when it ends,” said Samira, who runs a hair and beauty salon in Tripoli’s central Ben Achour neighborhood.

Originally from neighboring Tunisia, Samira has been living in Libya for years and her salon is always packed with clients.

“At least three or four brides come in each week to have their hair done and get ready for their big day,” she said, as she prepared a palette of eyeshadows and brushes to start making up a young bride.

“That’s as well as dozens of women who come for a haircut, to get a makeover, or skincare before a big event,” she added.

Clashes between warring sides have centered on the southern outskirts of the city, just 15 km from the center.

Fighting intensified with a counter-attack launched by GNA force on Saturday, when sustained rocket and shellfire could be heard in several districts and some witnesses reported airstrikes.

Tripoli residents fear that the battle could escalate into a wider conflict that would devastate the North African country, already rocked by years of instability and economic hardship since former ruler Muammar Qaddafi was ousted in 2011.

But for now, the honking of car horns on the seafront is louder than the distant boom of rockets and gunfire.

Schools and businesses in Tripoli remain open when they can, while residents of the Mediterranean city try to indulge in their favorite leisure activities.

“Libya is not just about television footage showing tanks and militiamen brandishing their guns or destroyed buildings,” said schoolteacher Mariam Abdallah.

“We are still having weddings, parties, school activities and sports events.” On the seafront in the west of Tripoli, outdoor cafes are packed, especially toward the end of the day when residents like to unwind after a day’s work.

Many of the clients are students and young employees attracted by the offers of free wifi.

Issam, a waiter at a cafe, said coffee shops and restaurants provide a “rare” form of leisure in Libya, a country that has “no cinemas, theaters or concert halls.”

So the “best places to meet (friends) and spend some good times are cafes and restaurants,” he said.

“My daughter, her husband and their children came to shelter in our house because of the fighting, so the family has grown,” said Faiza, as she shopped for some crockery and other supplies.

“It is always nice to have something new in the kitchen,” she said cheerfully as she checked out some bowls with a flowery motif.

Faiza said she needed to prepare ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which begins in early May.

“New things inspire me to create new dishes for the family,” she added, her grandchildren running up and down the aisles of the supermarket.

“It’s hard to come up with different meals to break the (Ramadan) fast every evening for a month,” she said.