8 die in fuel hike protests in S. Darfur

Aug. 1, 2012 at 8:05 AM
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NYALA, Sudan, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- At least eight people were killed and more than 50 wounded in anti-government protests in Sudan's Darfur region, witnesses said.

Witnesses said the protests Tuesday in Nyala, provincial capital of South Darfur state, were triggered by price hikes instituted Monday that raised the price for a gallon of fuel to about $10, the Sudan Tribune reported.

The witnesses said police fired live ammunition into the crowd of protesters.

The fuel prices hikes prompted public bus drivers to strike, crippling transportation in and out of Nyala's downtown district Tuesday.

The protesters, mainly students, burned tires in the streets and chanted slogans calling for the ouster of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's government, the Tribune said.

The police response and deaths fomented the situation, with some protesters torching two police stations and others setting fire to the local education ministry and a gas station, witnesses said. Protesters also threw stones at a radio station and another government building, blocked the road with burning tires and chanted "People want to change the regime," the Tribune reported.

State and federal government officials blamed the violence on vandals and radicals who targeted government buildings and police stations.

The protests in Nyala were the latest and most violent demonstrations in reaction to the government's austerity measures ending fuel subsidies to address a $2.4 billion budget deficit created when Sudan lost oil revenues after South Sudan's secession last summer.

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