December 25, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese police on Sunday used violence to break up a student protest at the University of Khartoum, arresting over 70 students.
The crackdown came as thousands of students refused to sit for exams and staged a protest against a resolution by the university’s administration authorising police forces to enter the campus and refused to sit for exams.
The sit-in was planned in protest against a similar police crackdown on Thursday against students demonstrating in solidarity with Al-Manasir, a riverine group displaced by a government dam project on the river Nile north of the capital.
Eye witnesses told Sudan Tribune that police forces used teargas and batons to break up the demonstrators. More than 70 students were arrested, they said.
The anti-government youth group Girifna reported on its Facebook page that more than 90 students were arrested. It later said that many were freed but reported cases of physical abuse suffered by students at the hands of anti-riot police.
Girifna released video footage showing the protest and the arrest of students by police and security men.
The chief of police in Khartoum state, Lt-Gen Mohamed Ahmad, announced that 32 protestors have been taken into custody and charged with staging riots. According to the police official, the arrested group of university students staged riot incidents inside the university campus and later marched out to the street in order to “create chaos.”
He claimed that the protesting students began throwing stones at the police which prompted the latter to intervene in “a limited way.”
A number of youth groups accusing the Sudanese government of a long list of failures have been attempting to stage an uprising similar to those seen in some Arab countries.
But the protest movement has so far failed to gain momentum despite the worsening economic conditions in Sudan and government’s perceived reluctance to introduce reforms.