Protest In Sudan Over Price Of Bread Hike

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Sudanese police have fired teargas to disperse a crowd demonstrating against a hike in bread prices.

The Sudanese government's decision to devaluate the local currency and rising bread prices sparked protests across the country yesterday, which resulted in police killing at least one protester and arresting another, according to news reports.

"We were protesting today against the rise in bread prices and we call on the government to scrap it", said a protestor in Sennar, about 300 km (185 miles) south of Khartoum.

Separate protests also took place in two other southwestern cities, Nyala and al-Damazin, and in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

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Accordingly, flour manufacturers have raised the price of a 50-kilo sack of wheat flour from 167 to 450 Sudanese pounds, causing the owners of bakeries to raise the price of a piece of bread from 0.5 Sudanese pounds to 1 pound as of Friday, Jan. 5, 2018.

Sporadic anti-government protests have been held since Saturday in some parts of the country following the price rise.

The opposition "Congress Party" said that the security and intelligence apparatus arrested its head Omar al-Dukir of North Kordofan and human rights officer Jalal Mustafa.

Similar protests were held in late 2016 after the government cut fuel subsidies.

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Dozens of people were killed in 2013 when security forces crushed large street demonstrations, drawing worldwide condemnation.

"No reason was given for confiscating copies of our newspaper, but I think it was due to our transparent coverage of the food price rise", said Hanadi Al-Sidiq, editor of Akhbar Al-Watan which saw its entire run seized along with Al-Tayar, Al-Mustagilla, Al-Karar, Al-Midan and Al-Assayha newspapers.

Sudan has begun a series of economic reforms in line with International Monetary Fund recommendations to try and get the economy back on track, months after a USA decision to lift sanctions raised hopes that badly needed investment may return.

The government decision was part of tough economic measures contained in the 2018 budget which also saw the lifting of electricity subsidies as well as increasing the US dollar exchange rate to 18.00 pounds from the official rate of 6.7 pounds.

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