EU says monitoring Sudan protests over rising prices
BRUSSELS - The European Union on Thursday called on Sudan to allow protests that are being held against rising food prices, saying it was closely monitoring the demonstrations and detention of political leaders.
Sporadic protests have erupted in parts of Sudan since last week as angry students and citizens took to the streets against soaring bread prices on the back of a jump in the cost of flour.
Anti-riot police have swiftly broken up the demonstrations using tear gas against protesters, many of them university students. A student was killed on Sunday during a protest in war-torn Darfur.
On Thursday, the EU said it was closely monitoring the protests.
"We consider it crucial that people are permitted to exercise their right to freedom of expression, including freedom of the media and of political participation," the EU said in a statement.
"At the same time, we urge those exercising their fundamental rights to express their opinions peacefully."
Sudanese authorities have detained several senior members of opposition groups who had called for anti-government protests, while security agents have confiscated entire print-runs of some newspapers.
Protests erupted after the cost of flour jumped to 450 Sudanese pounds ($25) for a 50-kilo (110-pound) sack, from 167 pounds last week.
Similar protests were held in late 2016 after the government cut fuel subsidies.
The authorities had cracked down on those protests to prevent a repeat of deadly unrest that followed an earlier round of subsidy cuts in 2013.
Dozens of people were killed in 2013 when security forces crushed large street demonstrations, drawing international condemnation.