Sudan police fire teargas at protesters over worsening economy

Sudanese police fired tear gas on Sunday to disperse angry protests in Khartoum over the country's worsening economic crisis.

Members of Sudanese security forces remove obstacles placed by protesters as tear gas fumes billow during a demonstration against rising prices, on the main al-Sittin (sixty) road in the capital Khartoum, on January 24, 2021. Ashraf Shazly / AFP
Dozens of demonstrators had blocked 60th Street, a major artery in the east of the capital, setting up barricades and burning tyres to voice their anger at soaring inflation, food shortages and power cuts.

"We can't find a loaf of bread for breakfast at school," said Hani Mohamed, a young protester in a high school uniform.

Protesters in Khartoum's sister city Omdurman also blocked a central street by erecting rudimentary barriers made of concrete blocks and used car parts.

Sudan has been reeling from an economic crisis since the ouster of autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 following mass nationwide protests sparked months earlier by high bread prices.

Soaring inflation, exacerbated by the global coronavirus pandemic, has brought more pain to the country of 40 million, where many are forced to queue for hours for a loaf of bread and endure hours-long power cuts.

Inflation reached a whopping 269 percent last month, according to official statistics, and the country is also struggling with some 60 billion US dollars of debt.

Earlier this month, Sudan signed a memorandum of understanding with outgoing US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for a bridging loan to clear $1 billion of arrears to the World Bank.

It also signed another $1 billion agreement with the US Export and Import Bank.

Last week, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's fragile, transitional civilian-majority government approved its first budget since being removed from a US blacklist last year to help rebuild the beleaguered economy.

Topics: Hani Mohamed , Sudan , Abdalla Hamdo , inflation , Omar al-Bashir
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