Sudan cracks down on protests, violence escalates

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudanese security forces on Wednesday fired tear gas and beat demonstrators protesting against price increases for basic goods, and a journalist was found beheaded in a further sign of rising political tensions.

The protests were organized despite calls for national unity from President Omar Hassan al-Bashir as Khartoum faces off with the international community over its refusal to allow a United Nations peacekeeping force into the war-torn Darfur region.

Riot police closed ranks in Khartoum’s main streets to block any gatherings of protesters, who vowed they would not stop until their right to protest peacefully was granted.

“Today we intend to deliver our statement to the presidential palace,” said Mariam al-Mahdi, spokeswoman of the Umma Party, one of the largest opposition groups. She was later arrested along with around nine other senior party officials.

Before her own arrest, Mahdi said she saw at least seven man arrested in the center of Khartoum.

In another part of the city the body of a Sudanese newspaper editor was found beheaded, a day after he was reported snatched by unknown armed men from outside his home in the capital.

Mohamed Taha was an ally of the government, which took power in a military coup in 1989.

Just another in the long list of Human tragedies that Kofi and Company are powerless to stop.

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