Sudan Tribune, Friday 23 December 2011
December 22, 2011 (KHARTOUM) ï¿½ The Sudanese capital Khartoum has
witnessed a second round of demonstrations against a government dam
project upcountry as President Omer Al-Bashir pledged to find a quick
solution to the issue.
Anti-riot police forces on Thursday fired teargas and used batons to
disperse a protest staged in downtown Khartoum by dozens of students
affiliated to, or acting in solidarity with, Al-Manasir, one of three
tribal populations which incurred severe losses of properties due to the
construction of Merowe Dam in their homelands on the Fourth cataract of
the River Nile, 350 kilometers north of Khartoum.
A similar crackdown was meted out earlier on Tuesday against Al-Manasir
demonstrators in downtown Khartoum, leading to the arrest of around ten
Thursdayï¿½s protest moved to the University of Khartoum where several
other students joined the protestors, eye witnesses told Sudan Tribune.
Around 300 students marched out of Khartoum Universityï¿½s main campus,
chanting slogans denouncing president Al-Bashir.
Police forces then arrived at the scene and clashed with the protestors,
firing tear gas and chasing them inside the campus. Dozens were
arrested, according to the witnesses.
The police also dispersed another protest staged later in the evening by
female students affiliated to Al-Manasir. The students had earlier
blocked the road in front of their house near Khartoum University and
chanted slogans calling for overthrowing the government.
These protests came one month after Al-Manasir started a sit-in in El
Damer town in the Nile River State to protest against the governmentï¿½s
failure to compensate them for the damage of their properties.
Meanwhile, president Al-Bashir held a meeting with the Nile River
Stateï¿½s governor Al-Hadi Abdallah and discussed Al-Manasir issue. The
governor told reporters following the meeting that Al-Bashir had
promised resolve the issue ï¿½within daysï¿½ and declared his intention to
visit the state in mid-January.
The construction of Merowe dam, which was financed by China, the Arab
Fund for Social & Economical Development, the Saudi Fund for Development
and other Arab funds at a cost of more than 2 billion US dollars, has
displaced more than 100,000 local persons belonging to three riverian
communities, Al Hamdab, Amri and Al-Manasir.
Local opposition to Meroew dam began in 2003 when its construction
started. In 2006, a militia linked to the Merowe Dam Implementation Unit
(MDIU) attacked a peaceful protest by local communities with live
ammunitions, killing three people on the spot and injuring more than forty.
According to Sudanese and International Human Rights Organisations the
Merowe Dam project has been marred by massive human rights abuses since
its inception. Members of the affected communities have been subjected
to detention, torture, injury, and killings.
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