Sudan protests will not change government: Bashir

Supporters of Sudan’s President Omar Bashir wave their national flags as they chant slogans in his favor during a rally at the Green Square in Khartoum. (Reuters)
Updated 15 January 2019
0

Sudan protests will not change government: Bashir

  • I won’t allow anyone to destroy our homeland by looting and burning our properties, says the president
  • About 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict and another 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN

KHARTOUM: Defiant Sudanese President Omar Bashir said on Monday that ongoing protests will not lead to a change in government, as he addressed a rally of cheering supporters in war-torn Darfur.

“Demonstrations will not change the government,” Bashir told crowds of supporters gathered in Niyala, the capital of South Darfur state, where just a day ago police had broken up an anti-government demonstration, state television reported.

“There’s only one road to power and that is through the ballot box. The Sudanese people will decide in 2020 who will govern them,” said Bashir, who is planning to run for the presidency for the third time in elections to be held next year.

Deadly protests have rocked Sudan since Dec. 19 when angry crowds took to the streets in towns and villages against a government decision to raise the price of bread.

At least 24 people have died in the protests, which swiftly turned into nationwide anti-government rallies, with protesters calling on Bashir to step down.

“Sudan has many enemies and those enemies have few people among us who don’t want stability and security,” said Bashir, with state television broadcasting footage showing him waving his trademark cane as supporters chanted “stay, stay.”

“We will not allow anyone to destroy our homeland by looting and burning our properties,” said Bashir.

In the initial days of protests, several buildings and offices of Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party were set on fire in towns and villages. On Sunday, the first anti-government demonstrations were held in Niyala and El-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur.

Darfur, a region the size of France, has been torn by violence since 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the government in Khartoum, accusing it of economic and political marginalization.

About 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict and another 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN. Most of those displaced still live in sprawling camps.

On Monday, he reiterated that Sudan faced “economic problems,” but they could not be solved by looting and burning of properties.

Sudanese security agents, meanwhile, stopped a group of journalists in Khartoum from holding a sit in to protest the banning of a newspaper this week, witnesses said.

The journalists were planning a sit in after authorities banned Al-Jadida newspaper from publishing for several days this week, a witness told AFP without offering details.

Organizers of anti-government protests have so far staged hundreds of rallies across the country, including in Khartoum.

The Sudanese Professionals’ Association that is spearheading the rallies have urged protesters to continue with their demonstrations this week, calling it as the “Week of Uprising.”

On Sunday, protesters had taken to the streets in the capital’s Bahari district chanting “peace, peace” and “revolution is the people’s choice,” but they were quickly confronted by riot police with tear gas.

Rights groups say more than 1,000 people have been arrested since the protests began, including opposition leaders, activists and journalists as well as demonstrators.

Although the unrest was triggered by the rise in the price of bread, Sudan has faced a mounting economic crisis over the past year, led by an acute shortage of foreign currency.

Repeated shortages of food and fuel have been reported across cities, while the cost of food and medicine has more than doubled.


Sixteen states sue Trump over border wall emergency

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, right, accompanied by Gov. Gavin Newsom, said California will probably sue President Donald Trump over his emergency declaration to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP)
Updated 19 February 2019
0

Sixteen states sue Trump over border wall emergency

  • The complaint added that the Department of Homeland Security had violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to evaluate the environmental impact of the wall in California and New Mexico

SAN FRANCISCO: Sixteen US states sued President Donald Trump’s administration Monday over his decision to declare a national emergency to fund a wall on the southern border with Mexico, saying the move violated the constitution.
The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California, said the president’s order was contrary to the Presentment Clause that outlines legislative procedures and the Appropriations Clause, which defines Congress as the final arbiter of public funds.
The move had been previously announced by Xavier Becerra the attorney general of California who said his state and others had legal standing because they risked losing moneys intended for military projects, disaster assistance and other purposes.
Several Republican senators have decried the emergency declaration, saying it establishes a dangerous precedent and amounts to executive overreach.
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia are party to the complaint seeking an injunction.
“Use of those additional federal funds for the construction of a border wall is contrary to Congress’s intent in violation of the US Constitution, including the Presentment Clause and Appropriations Clause,” the complaint said.
It added that Trump had “veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making.”
“Congress has repeatedly rebuffed the president’s insistence to fund a border wall, recently resulting in a record 35-day partial government shutdown over the border wall dispute,” the document read.
“After the government reopened, Congress approved, and the president signed into law, a $1.375 billion appropriation for fencing along the southern border, but Congress made clear that funding could not be used to build President Trump’s proposed border wall.”
The complaint added that the Department of Homeland Security had violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to evaluate the environmental impact of the wall in California and New Mexico.
Friday’s declaration enables the president to divert funds from the Pentagon’s military construction budget and other sources.