Sudan police, protesters clash over austerity cuts
By Khalid Abdelaziz and Alexander Dziadosz
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese riot police armed with batons and tear gas fought with students protesting for a fourth day against tough austerity measures the finance minister set out in detail on Wednesday.
Student groups, inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings, have led rallies in Khartoum against planned government spending cuts and sought to galvanize anger over price rises into a wider movement to topple military ruler Omar Hassan al-Bashir who has been in power since a 1989 bloodless coup.
The Arab-African nation has faced soaring food prices and a weakening currency since South Sudan seceded a year ago, taking with it about three-quarters of the country's economically-vital oil output.
But previous demonstrations have failed to gain broader momentum.
Riot police carrying batons blocked off a major road and chased scores of students in the streets around the University of Khartoum on Wednesday, two witnesses said. A third witness estimated "hundreds" of students joined the protest.
The smell of tear gas hung in the air.
The student demonstrators chanted "the people want to overthrow the regime" and threw stones at the police, the witnesses said. There was no immediate comment from the police.
Police also used tear gas and batons to break up a protest of about 400 students chanting "no, no to inflation" at a university in the suburb Omdurman, two separate witnesses said. Continued...