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ANHRI condemns authorities' use of force to disperse demonstrations

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, June 18, 2012 - ANHRI has denounced the Sudanese authorities' use of force to disperse demonstrators over two days in Khartoum, in addition to a rise in withholding and confiscation of newspapers. "It is the government's responsibility to protect the demonstrators. We don't want to witness bloodshed for the peaceful expression of opinions," said ANHRI.

News agencies and activist accounts on social network websites have recorded and conveyed the dispersion of a large Khartoum University students' demonstration on 17 June, with police use of teargas and batons.

The students were demonstrating after political parties and Sudanese opposition groups put out a call for protests against high inflation rates and the government plans, lifting a subsidy on fuel prices, that contributed to the high prices.

ANHRI expressed deep concern over the authorities' use of force in suppressing the genuine constitutional right to freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstrations.

Several eye witnesses quoted in many newspapers talked about seeing thugs who carried knives to intimidate the demonstrators. ANHRI described this as "a serious matter" and "a sign of the authorities' intention to strongly suppress the protests in case they expand."

ANHRI emphasised the Sudanese authorities' responsibility to protect the demonstrators and ensure their right to demonstrate and express their opinions.

ANHRI demanded that the Sudanese government refrain from following the bloody example set by Arab governments in the suppression of protests during the Arab spring, which resulted in killings and injuries of hundreds and thousands of individuals. The organisation also demanded that the government immediately desist from confiscating and blocking the distribution of newspapers.

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