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.


Iran’s Zarif says risk of war with Israel is great

Updated 39 sec ago
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Iran’s Zarif says risk of war with Israel is great

  • FM said Israel’s behavior violates international law
  • He also criticized Europe for not calling out Israel and US for illegal behavior in the region

MUNICH: Iran’s foreign minister on Sunday accused Israel of looking for war and warned that its actions and those of the United States were increasing the chances of a clash in the region. Addressing the Munich Security Conference, Mohammad Javad Zarif, also criticized the US administration after Vice President Mike Pence this week called on European powers to pullout of the nuclear deal with Iran. Zarif urged France, Germany and Britain to do more to save that accord.

“Certainly, some people are looking for war ... Israel,” Zarif said. “The risk (of war) is great. The risk will be even greater if you continue to turn a blind eye to severe violations of international law.”

Accusing Israel of violating international law after bombing campaigns in Syria, Zarif criticized European powers for not calling out Israel and the United States for their behavior in the region.

“Israeli behavior is putting international law on the shelf, US behavior is putting international law on the shelf,” he said.

Speaking to his cabinet on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iranian belligerence was the main destabilizing factor in the entire Middle East.

“We must deny Iran nuclear weaponry and block its military entrenchment in Syria. We will continue taking constant action to ensure Israel’s security,” he said in remarks broadcast on Israeli media.

Europe falling short

Vice President Pence on Friday accused Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism, maintaining his harsh rhetoric against Tehran just a day he attacked European powers for trying to undermine US sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Zarif said the US had an “unhealthy” and “pathological obsession” with Iran and accused Pence of trying to bully his allies.

“All in the name of containing Iran, the US claims, and some blindly parrot, that it is Iran that is interfering in the region, but has it been asked whose region?” Zarif said.

“Look at the map, the US military has traveled 10,000 kilometers to dot all our borders with its bases. There is a joke that it is Iran that put itself in the middle of US bases.”

Zarif, who said Iran was committed to the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers for now, also accused France, Britain and Germany of not doing enough to ensure Tehran received the economic benefits of that accord.

These three countries this month set up the Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), a new channel for non-dollar trade with Iran to avoid US sanctions. But diplomats say it is unlikely to allow the big transactions that Tehran says it needs to keep a nuclear deal afloat.

Washington’s major European allies opposed last year’s decision by US President Donald Trump to abandon the deal, which also includes China and Russia, under which international sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for Tehran accepting curbs on its nuclear program.

“INSTEX falls short of commitments by the E3 (France, Germany, Britain) to save the nuclear deal,” Zarif said. “Europe needs to be willing to get wet if it wants to swim against the dangerous tide of US unilateralism.”