WASHINGTON — A crackdown on protestors will not solve Sudan’s political and economic crises, a US official said, condemning the assault and detention of protestors.
“Sudan’s economic crisis cannot be solved by arresting and mistreating protesters,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
“There have been reports of protestors being beaten, imprisoned and severely mistreated while in government custody. We call for the immediate release of those detained for peaceful protest,” she added in a statement.
Peaceful protest is quickly turning violent in the East African nation. For almost two weeks, demonstrators in groups of 100 or 200 have burned tires and blocked roads in a growing call for regime change, which has been inevitably met by police tear gas.
The protests began as a student demonstration outside the University of Khartoum on June 16 against a sharp rise in food and fuel prices.
But they quickly spread to include a cross-section of the population in numerous locations throughout the capital, and several other parts of Sudan.
The United States joins Britain in its call for the “immediate release of those detained while engaged in peaceful protest.”
The US State Department also addressed Sudan’s multiple domestic and international imbroglios.
“Engaging in armed conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and failing to reach agreement with South Sudan on oil, trade and other means of economic cooperation only deepen Sudan’s economic crisis,” Nuland said.
An Egyptian national and a correspondent for international news wire Bloomberg was deported by Sudanese authorities Tuesday after reporting the widening protest movement.
Protests by tens of thousands in 1964 and 1985 helped bring about the downfall of the Sudanese regimes then in office.
President Omar al-Bashir, an army officer who seized power in June 1989, called the latest protests small-scale and not comparable to the “Arab Spring” uprising against regional powers over the past year.