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Sudan: Protesters call for govt resignation over IMF-backed reforms

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ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP or licensors


Hundreds of people took to the streets on Wednesday in several cities in Sudan to demand the resignation of the government. Behind this angst are the austerity measures put in place as part of reforms supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"No to the policies of international financial institutions" and "The people want the fall of the regime" were some of the slogans heard among the protesters in Khartoum, according to AFP correspondents on site.

These demonstrations come less than 24 hours after the IMF announced the release of massive economic aid for Sudan, with a debt relief of 50 billion dollars, representing nearly 90% of the total debt of the country.

The popular discontent has been palpable for several months and has increased after the removal of fuel subsidies in early June, which doubled the price of diesel and gasoline.

In the capital Khartoum, dozens of demonstrators burned tires in front of the presidential palace, carrying placards that read "Bread for the poor", before the police dispersed them with tear gas.

In Ummdurman, twin city of the capital, demonstrators trying to reach Khartoum were dispersed in the same way. In Kassala (east), dozens took to the streets to demand justice for people killed during the popular protests that ousted former autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

"Blood for blood, we will not accept compensation," protesters shouted.

Since August 2019, Sudan has been ruled by a civil-military transitional government. This one is committed to restoring the country's economy, in tatters after 30 years of mismanagement, internal conflicts and international sanctions under Bashir.

In a speech broadcast on national television, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok praised the "patience" and "endurance" of the Sudanese people on Wednesday after the IMF announcement. "We are on the right track," he said.

Ahead of the protests, authorities announced they had arrested 79 people suspected of having links to Bashir and planning violent acts.

Wednesday's date also coincides with the anniversary of the coup that brought the former dictator to power in 1989.

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