Sudan police attack student protest

Published Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sudanese police used tear gas and batons on Sunday against protesters marching in support of four dead students originally from the conflict-plagued Darfur region, witnesses said.

"Killing students is the killing of the nation!" about 100 young people shouted in the center of the capital after marching from the direction of the University of Khartoum, an AFP reporter said.

Police fired tear gas but the marchers continued chanting outside the Ministry of Justice, he said.

Earlier, about 500 students gathered at the riverfront University of Khartoum campus in a mock funeral for the four Gezira University students, whose deaths a student group blamed on authorities and their "militia."

A student witness said many of the mourners then marched into the street near the campus, where police beat them with batons.

The death of the four, following an alleged crackdown on a tuition protest, has prompted the largest outpouring of student discontent since anti-government protests in June and July.

Those earlier demonstrations began at the University of Khartoum over high inflation and then spread to involve scattered Arab Spring-style protests throughout the country. They petered out following a violent government clampdown.

Students played a key role in mass unrest that toppled Sudanese military regimes in 1964 and 1985.

The Darfur Students Association of Gezira University announced on Saturday that Al Sadiq Yakoub Abdullah and Al Noman Ahmed Gorshi had been found dead along with Mohammed Yunis Neil and Adel Mohammed Ahmed Hammad.

All four had gone missing after joining a peaceful sit-in "for their right to free education in the university," the association said.

"Gezira University administration, the Student Union and National Congress Party militia bear full responsibility for the blood of our martyrs," it said, referring to the ruling party.

Under a 2011 peace deal between the government and an alliance of Darfur rebel splinter factions, the offspring of people displaced by Darfur's nine-year rebel-government conflict are supposed to get a five-year fee waiver at national universities.

The association said 80 students were arrested and dozens injured when the pro-government Student Union disrupted the sit-in.

Official media announced on Saturday that activities at Gezira University, in El Gezira state south of Khartoum, have been suspended after the students' "drowning."

(AFP)

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