Police disperse protest march on Sudan women’s prison

Cars block a road as Sudanese demonstrators stage an anti-government protests in Khartoum, Sudan January 25, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 10 February 2019
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Police disperse protest march on Sudan women’s prison

  • “We are fighters, we will complete our mission,” protesters chanted as women ululated and men flashed the victory sign

KHARTOUM: Police used tear gas Sunday to disperse hundreds of Sudanese protesters who marched on a women’s prison in Omdurman calling for the release of detainees arrested in anti-government protests, witnesses said.
“We are fighters, we will complete our mission,” protesters chanted as women ululated and men flashed the victory sign, according to the witnesses.
The protesters called for the release of women arrested in ongoing demonstrations against President Omar Al-Bashir’s three-decade rule, the witnesses said.
Marchers also called for the “overthrow” of Bashir, as they approached the prison in Omdurman — the twin city of the capital Khartoum — before they were dispersed.
The march was called by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which is spearheading the protest campaign.
The SPA, an umbrella body of doctors, engineers and teachers, called Sunday’s march a “Rally for Women Detainees.”
“Women are taking the lead in the protest movement,” a female protester taking part in Sunday’s rally told AFP without revealing her name for security reasons.
“The SPA has called today’s march in honor of female detainees and this will inspire us to continue until we achieve success.”
Bashir on Wednesday pinned the unrest in part on Sudan’s decades-old public order law, and also acknowledged that growing economic hardships have angered youths and sent them out into the streets.
Activists say the law targets mainly women, often accusing them of “indecent dressing and immoral behavior.”
More than 1,000 people, including protesters, activists, opposition leaders and journalists have been arrested since the protests began.
Witnesses said that after the march on the prison was dispersed, protesters launched a new rally in another area of Omdurman called Street 40.
“We are all Ahmed,” chanted protesters as riot police fired tear gas, a witness said, referring to detainee Ahmed Al-Kheir, who died in detention last week in the eastern town of Khashm el-Girba.
Kheir was taken away from his home by security agents and his family was later informed about his death. He had been arrested for allegedly organizing protests in his hometown, a relative told AFP.
Protesters also rallied in a district of Khartoum but were swiftly dispersed with tear gas, witnesses said.
Initial demonstrations erupted on December 19 against a government decision to triple the price of bread, and quickly escalated into calls for Bashir to step down.
Officials say 30 people have died in protest-related violence, while Human Rights Watch says at least 51 people have been killed.


New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

Updated 26 April 2019
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New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

  • The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July
  • Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues

RABAT: The Moroccan government on Thursday announced a “new social deal” with employers and the main labor unions, under which many workers will enjoy a pay rise.
The deal agreed by the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) and the three main unions — the UMT, UGTM and UNMT — is the fruit of months of negotiations
The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July, except for the agricultural sector.
Government-paid family allowances will also rise.
Meanwhile public sector workers will be given a 300-500 dirham monthly pay increase over three years.
Of Morocco’s main trade unions only the Democratic Labour Confederation has not signed the social deal which, according to the government statement, is aimed at “improving spending power and the social climate.”
Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues, in particular health and education in the north African country which has been hit by protests over employment and corruption.
Mohammed VI pointed to social support and social protection programs that “overlap each other, suffer from a lack of consistency and fail to effectively target eligible groups.”
After months of stalemate, the dossier was handed to the interior ministry at the beginning of the year and the final rounds of talks were held.
The social unrest began in October 2016 after the death of a fisherman and spiralled into a wave of protests demanding more development in the neglected Rif region and railing against corruption and unemployment.
Morocco is marked by glaring social and territorial inequalities, against a backdrop of high unemployment among young people. In 2018, it was ranked 123rd out of 189 countries and territories on the Human Development Index.