The Multinational Monitor


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Sudan: Thousands Riot Against the IMF

Simmering discontent in Sudan has exploded into violence since the first of the year, with a number of deaths being reported.

In the north students and unemployed youth have demonstrated against the adoption of stringent International Monetary Fund measures by President Jaafar el Numeiry.

The seeds of the current spate of unrest in the north were sown October 11 when Numeiry agreed to make payments to Sudan's international lenders. In return, Numiery promised to devalue the Sudanese pound, abolish the two-tier exchange rate and reduce government subsidies for fuel, sugar and other basic commodities.

In adopting the drastic measures the president knew that he was courting trouble and dismissed his entire cabinet not only because of their lack of success in bettering the dismal economy, but also as a "sacrifice" to those opposed to the economic policies. New ministers have since been appointed and they are expected to be a boon to private business and encourage further American and British investments and aid to Sudan.

Elementary and secondary schools students were joined by adults in the capital of Khartoum in protests on January 2 as the IMF plan was being implemented. And for four consecutive days larger and larger protests were staged.

Chanting slogans against Numeiry, the IMF and the United States, demonstrators burned 120 shops and threw bricks and Molotov cocktails at security forces. Police used batons and tear gas and then shot over the heads of the crowd before breaking up the marchers. One death was reported in the fracas.

Reports reaching Khartoum from outlying provinces indicate similar actions were taking place throughout northern Sudan.

According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, five people were killed and a score wounded by anti-riot police at Wad el Zaki, 100 miles south of Khartoum. All schools are now closed in Khartoum, the Central and Northern regions and in Port Sudan on the Red Sea.

- Africa News

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