The northern African nation of Sudan faces many political and economic challenges, but the ongoing crackdown against citizens protesting conditions there won’t solve them. The United States condemns the numerous arrests and detentions that have occurred there in recent weeks and calls for the immediate release of those detained for peaceful protest.
The demonstrations began in the capital Khartoum with students upset over planned government austerity measures. Fueled by public frustration over rising food and fuel prices, the protests grew and spread.
Riot squads have repeatedly been called out to stop the demonstrations, firing tear gas and using batons to club protestors, who respond by throwing rocks at the police. There have been reports of people being beaten, imprisoned and severely mistreated in government custody.
Sudan is engaged in conflict on several fronts. Ongoing ethnic clashes in the Darfur region, armed skirmishes in Southern Kardofan and Blue Nile states, and a costly standoff with South Sudan over unsettled issues related to that nation’s independence such as oil, trade and border demarcation – all have fueled growing political and economic instability. Attacking citizens peacefully protesting economic conditions will only deepen the crisis.
A government that respects its citizens’ rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly does not respond to such protests with unnecessary force. The heavy-handed approach adopted by Sudanese security forces is disproportionate and deeply concerning.