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

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.


Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

Updated 18 August 2019

Jordan criticizes Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque changes

  • Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa

AMMAN: Jordan has stepped up its diplomatic pressure on Israel, demanding that they do not change the status quo at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Zaid Lozi, director-general of Jordan’s Foreign Ministry, summoned Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Amir Weissbrod to protest Israel’s actions in Jerusalem.

According to Petra News, Lozi told the envoy that recent remarks by Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Ardan over changing the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque are unacceptable. Lozi added that the mosque is a place of worship for Muslims only.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi addressed a group of EU ambassadors in Amman and “stressed the urgency of effective international steps against Israel’s violations of Holy Sites in occupied Jerusalem.”

Safadi told Arab News that the situation in Jerusalem is challenging and must be addressed. He said that he will present a detailed report on Jordan’s position to Parliament on Monday.

The ministry denounced the Israeli authorities’ closure of the mosque’s gates and demanded that Israel respects its obligations in accordance with international humanitarian law.

HIGHLIGHT

• Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Hatem Abdel Qader, a member of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, told Arab News that Israeli authorities had been attempting to enforce major changes at the mosque.

“Security forces barged into the mosque yesterday. They went to the Bab Al-Rahmeh Mosque where they confiscated carpets and the closet where shoes are kept.”

Jordan’s diplomatic statements follow comments by Ardan, who said that Israel is disappointed with the current state of affairs at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

According to Israeli officials, the mosque area is sovereign Israeli territory, despite it being administered by Jordan. Muslims insist that all 144,000 square meters of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are a single unit that has belonged to them for 11 centuries.

Qader said that Palestinians welcomed the Jordanian position but expressed concerns over a decline of support for Amman’s custodianship of the holy places at Al-Aqsa.

“There appears to have been a gradual deterioration of Arab and Islamic support to Jordan. It surprises me that Muslims have been quiet, perhaps they see an advantage if Jordan’s role is diminished? If true, this would be dangerous.”

Qader, a former minister in the Palestinian government and a current member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Arab News that Jordan’s position “guarantees continuation of the status quo.”