Sudan: Security Forces Detain 26 Opposition Leaders

Friday, 22 February, 2019 - 07:30
Khartoum - Ahmed Younes

Sudanese security forces on Thursday detained 26 opposition leaders, including Communist Party Secretary Mohammad Mokhtar al-Khatib, Al-Umma Party Vice President Mariam al-Mahdi, and a leader in the Sudanese Professionals’ Gathering, Mohammed Youssef Ahmed Al-Mustafa, before their scheduled participation in a massive protest in Khartoum.

Despite security reinforcements and pre-emptive plans by the apparatuses, demonstrators took to the streets in a number of areas in central Khartoum, chanting slogans of “freedom, peace and justice”, and “revolution is the choice of the people,” and calling for the departure of President Omar al-Bashir.

Security forces dispersed the demonstrators with tear gas, using gas launchers and rapid-firing rifles.

In a statement, the Sudanese National Umma Party said security forces anticipated the demonstrations by arresting the deputy head of the Umma Party, Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi; Communist Party leader Mokhtar al-Khatib, and others.

According to the statement and the witnesses, the security authorities arrested political leaders, from inside Farouk Mosque, in the center of the Arab market, before the scheduled start of the demonstration at 1:00 pm.

Authorities deployed a number of security forces, described by demonstrators as “sufficient to liberate an occupied city.”

According to witnesses, the forces immediately arrested all whom they suspected of participating in the demonstrations, focusing on girls, women and young people, and grouping them in hundreds in a number of assembly centers.

Security authorities also ordered a large number of merchants and shop owners in the Arab market to close their shops to prevent protesters from using them as points of gathering.

Khartoum’s anti-Bashir march came in parallel with demonstrations in several Sudanese cities, including Port Sudan in the east of the country, Wad Madani in the center and Kerma in the far north.

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