Ten held after demonstration in Sudan

Khartoum – Two students were hurt and 10 others were arrested when Sudanese police again broke up a protest in support of residents displaced by the giant Merowe dam, the protesters’ spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The latest incident occurred in Al-Damer, a town around 300km north of Khartoum, when about 300 students attempted to rally, he said.

“We are demonstrating for the rights of our families but when the students went out from their colleges the riot police used teargas and batons against them,” the spokesperson said.

A female protester was hurt in the head while a teargas canister hit another demonstrator in the stomach, he added.

Police could not be reached for comment.

About 1 000 people displaced by the Merowe dam began on November 20 a sit-in, at another location in Al-Damer, over the government’s alleged failure to compensate them with replacement homes as promised.

Completed in 2009 at a cost of more than $2-billion, the Chinese-built hydroelectric project, located northwest of Al-Damer, doubled Sudan’s power generation capacity.

But it also displaced 15 000 families, who were ordered to leave their homes three years ago to make way for the dam and the huge reservoir that formed behind it.

Protests by villagers opposed to the project broke out in 2006, leaving three people dead and dozens injured.

Twice last week in the capital Khartoum police forcibly broke up protests by youth supporting people displaced by the Merowe dam.

Khartoum sits on the confluence of the Blue and White Niles. The government has aggressively sought to tap the power of the river waters, a valuable resource that could help offset the loss of oil revenues from South Sudan’s separation in July. – Sapa-AFP

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