Sudanese student dies after protests - activists

KHARTOUM Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:16pm IST

Heavily armed police patrol Khartoum's main streets January 30, 2011. Police beat and arrested students in central Khartoum, witnesses said on Sunday, as demonstrations broke out throughout the city demanding the government resign. REUTERS/Stringer

Heavily armed police patrol Khartoum's main streets January 30, 2011. Police beat and arrested students in central Khartoum, witnesses said on Sunday, as demonstrations broke out throughout the city demanding the government resign.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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KHARTOUM (Reuters) - A student in Sudan died from his injuries after being beaten by security forces who broke up anti-government demonstrations inspired by protests in neighbouring Egypt, activists said on Monday.

It was the first reported death as protests continued late into Sunday night, when students at Khartoum university were beaten and tear gassed in their dormitories with at least five injured.

Police and security forces surrounded universities in Khartoum and other cities on Monday, said witnesses.

"You are our martyr Mohamed Abdelrahman," activists wrote on the social networking site Facebook, on a group called "Youth for Change" which has more than 16,000 members and calls for an end to President Omar Hassan all-Bashir's government.

Three activists told Reuters that Abdelrahman, a student from Omdurman Ahaliya University, died in hospital from his injuries late last night and had been buried. The university has been closed indefinitely.

"Medical sources confirmed to us that the student died yesterday from his injuries inflicted by security forces," Yasir Arman, a senior official with south Sudan's main party the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), told Reuters.

Arman condemned the use of force and said the students were trying to hold peaceful demonstrations.

UNIVERSITIES SURROUNDED

Protests have been held in Khartoum, el-Obeid town in the west and Kassala in the east on Sunday, with hundreds of young people being beaten by police with batons.

At least six universities in the capital and Sudan's regions were surrounded on Monday by hundreds of heavily armed police, preventing students from leaving the grounds.

Students demonstrating against rising food and petrol prices clashed with police in north Sudan earlier in the month. The protests have broadened since the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, with campaigners calling for regime change, and listing a range of complaints ranging from corruption to the practice of sentencing women to be lashed.

Police were not immediately available and the Omdurman hospital morgue declined to comment on the death. On Sunday police spokesman Ahmed Tuhami denied excessive force had been used.

On Monday journalists said security forces prevented the opposition Ajras al-Huriya and the independent al-Sahafa newspapers from being distributed after they wrote about the protests.

"Security came to the printing press and stopped the paper going out," said Fayez al-Silaik, deputy editor of Ajras al- Huriya.

He said the paper has been targeted because it had a front page article on the protests.

Dozens of students including two sons of opposition politician Mubarak al-Fadil were arrested and many remain detained, activists and opposition officials said on Monday.

Sudan has a close affinity with Egypt as the two nations were united under British colonial rule. Protests in Cairo and other Egyptian cities have sparked calls for change in Sudan, Africa's largest country, which is about to split in two with the oil-producing south voting in a referendum for independence.

Sudan is also deep in economic crisis after a bloated import bill has eaten up foreign currency and forced an effective currency devaluation which sparked rising inflation.

This month the government cut subsidies on petroleum products and key commodity sugar, sparking smaller protests throughout the north.

(Editing by Giles Elgood)

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