Water shortage leads to street protests in Sudan’s capital

May 11, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Shortage of water has hit large parts of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, leading to the outbreak of street protests on Wednesday.

Hundreds of citizens in Buri Abu Hashish area in eastern Khartoum on Wednesday took to the street in protest against shortage of water, eye witnesses told Sudan Tribune. The protestors clogged traffic in the area’s main street and burned car tires as police forces cordoned the protesters off without attempting to disperse them. Eye witnesses told Sudan Tribune that the protestors chanted “the people want water” and some of them canted anti-government slogans.

Some protestors attempted to march towards senior state officials living in the area but police forces prevented them, eye witnesses said.

Meanwhile, the director of Khartoum Water authority, Khalid Hassan Ibrahim, has accused “organized political quarters” of standing behind the water shortage crisis.

Speaking to the subtly pro-government daily newspaper Al-Ray al-Amm following Buri protests, Ibrahim added that these quarters blocked pipes in the water network. “Some sinister hands are exacerbating the problem to exploit it politically,” he told the paper. “We brought water to Buri citizens but they refused to take it” he said, adding that local officials in the area had informed him that most protestors are not even residents of the area.

Meanwhile, the secretary-general of the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Yasir Arman, demanded in a press release on Wednesday that the government solves the water problem in Khartoum state.

Large parts of Sudan’s sprawling capital Khartoum continue to grapple with shortage of potable water despite the authorities’ much-vaunted construction of water pipes networks and plants.

A similar protest erupted in February this year when hundreds of Sudanese citizens staged a protest in one of the main highway streets in Khartoum, demanding speed restrictions on the road after fatal accidents grew in number.

The Sudanese government has used force to break up few anti-government protests since the start of this year as public dissent increased over worsening economic conditions and austerity measures adopted by the government to offset the impact of the secession of the oil-producing region of South Sudan.


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