Protests rage on across Sudan as doctor and child are killed in violence

The protests have escalated into nationwide anti-government demonstrations that experts say pose the biggest challenge to Bashir since he took power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989. (File/AP)
Updated 17 January 2019

Protests rage on across Sudan as doctor and child are killed in violence

  • Rights group Human Rights Watch has put the death toll at 40, including children and medical staff
  • Bashir has remained steadfast in rejecting calls for him to resign

KHARTOUM: A doctor and a child were killed on Thursday as protests continued to rock the Sudanese capital of Khartoum and cities across the troubled country.

Police had earlier fired tear gas at protesters marching towards the presidential palace, witnesses said, during a demonstration in the capital to demand the resignation of President Omar Al-Bashir.

Demonstrators chanting "Freedom, peace, justice" gathered in central Khartoum and began their march but riot police quickly confronted them with tear gas, the witnesses told AFP.

Anti-government protests that erupted across Sudan on December 19, after the government raised the price of bread, have turned into daily nationwide demonstrations against Bashir's three decades of rule.

Sudan faced calls from Western powers at the UN Security Council on Thursday to respect the rights of anti-government demonstrators and investigate violence that has left at least 24 dead.
The council was meeting to discuss the situation in Sudan's troubled Darfur region but the United States, France, Britain and others raised serious concerns about the protest violence.
Britain slammed as "unacceptable" the use of deadly force by Sudanese security troops against the demonstrators and called for those responsible for the deaths of protesters to be held accountable.
"Security forces' use of lethal force and arbitrary detentions in response to peaceful protests is unacceptable and it should stop," said British Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen.
"We are appalled at reports that security forces have used tear gas and violence within hospitals against those being treated and against doctors providing medical assistance."

Protests were also held in the Red Sea town of Port Sudan and in Gadaref, witnesses told AFP by telephone, after organisers called for simultaneous demonstrations in 11 cities apart from Khartoum.

Ahead of the planned march, authorities had reinforced security forces in the capital's key areas.

An AFP journalist saw security personnel, many in plainclothes, stationed across the downtown area of Khartoum and along the expected route of Thursday's march.

Several army vehicles mounted with machineguns were stationed outside the palace.

Little traffic was seen at what is usually the height of the morning rush-hour as people stayed off the streets.

Officials say at least 24 people have died in the protests, but human rights group have put the death toll higher.

Amnesty International said last week that more than 40 people had been killed and more than 1,000 arrested.

Human Rights Watch said the dead did include children and medical staff.

Egypt re-opens Port Tawfiq-Jeddah line after 14 years

Updated 13 min 30 sec ago

Egypt re-opens Port Tawfiq-Jeddah line after 14 years

  • Port Tawfiq was a private maritime port for travelers between Suez and Jeddah until 2006
  • The line was suspended after the sinking of the ferry Al-Salam Boccaccio 98, in which 1,000 people died

CAIRO: The Egyptian Red Sea Ports Authority has announced the re-opening of the Port Tawfiq-Jeddah navigation line between Egypt and Saudi Arabia after a 14-year hiatus.

Prior to 2006, Port Tawfiq was a private maritime port for travelers between Suez and Jeddah. 

The line was suspended in that year, however, after the sinking of the ferry Al-Salam Boccaccio 98. About 1,000 people died in what was described as one of the worst maritime accidents in history. 

Most of the passengers were Egyptian nationals working in Saudi Arabia, while others were pilgrims returning home from Hajj. 

Malak Youssef, spokesperson for the Red Sea Ports Authority, told Arab News that the tragedy has caused much of the passenger traffic between the two ports to come to a halt.  The Red Sea Ports Authority and Maritime Safety Authority have been in talks in recent years about the reopening of the line, he said.

The decision, according to Youssef, will attract companies and investors, and will boost trade. The Tawfiq line will be provided with up to six vessels.

The reception halls of Port Tawfiq can accommodate 2,500 passengers. A series of police checks will be implemented to ensure the security and safety of passengers.

Suez MP Abdelhamid Kamal had submitted a request to the head of Parliament in Cairo to consider the re-opening of the Suez navigation line. The closure had deprived Hajj and Umrah travelers and unofficial or unlicensed workers of an important route. 

“Operating the port is one of people’s major demands in Suez, following its closure in 2006,” Kamal said.

Ayman Saleh, of the Red Sea Ports Authority, said in a statement that the operation of the navigation line will open door to thousands of jobs for the youth of Suez Governorate. The project will also benefit the area with the upgrade of its infrastructure, its docks and reception halls.

According to Saleh, a completion date for the launch of the line has not been set yet. 

The Red Sea Authority and Maritime Safety Authority are still working on the details of the reopening. “We will provide services to the public and provide them with security and protection,” Saleh said.