Sudan Police Fire Tear Gas, Arrest 73 Students at Anti-Government Protests

Sudanese police used tear gas, batons and warning shots to disperse a sit-in at the University of Khartoum yesterday, arresting at least 73, students said.

About 16,000 students started a sit-in at the university in the capital, protesting police violence and demanding the overthrow of the administration and the government, Muhammad al- Tom, a third-year literature student, said yesterday by telephone from Khartoum.

“We’re here because we want the police and the university administration to know that we’re humans and they should respect us,” said al-Tom, 21, who participated in the sit-in.

Sudanese police entered the campus for the first time on Thursday using tear gas and batons to disperse about 700 students protesting in support of people displaced by the Merowe Dam, north of Khartoum. The clashes continued until Saturday, before the students started the sit-in.

“They think storming the university gates will send students away, but here we are, becoming more organized and escalating our demands,” Ahmed Samir, spokesman for Sudanese Youth for Change, said by phone from Khartoum yesterday. The group has been calling for demonstrations for overthrowing the regime since January.

Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir, 67, seized power in a military coup in 1989. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and war crimes in the western Sudanese region of Darfur.

A police spokesman, al-Ser Ahmed Omar, couldn’t be reached immediately for comment.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Salma El Wardany in Khartoum through the Nairobi newsroom at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: C. Thompson at

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