Activists, politicians and students were among many people arrested during the latest anti-regime demonstrations in Sudan

The arrests came on Friday after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who gathered at mosques, said the Organisation for Defence of Rights and Freedoms, representing political, media, trade union and other activists promoting human rights.

"There were many arrests made by the government; some activists, politicians, university students. And the organisation demands that these people be released," an official from the rights group said.
The organisation could not say how many were detained, but it claims more than 2,000 have been held since demonstrations sparked by inflation began three weeks ago. Protests initially occurred daily, with groups of 100 or 200 people, but have now focused on Fridays.

Among those detained was Ibrahim Sheikh, leader of the Congress Party, the rights group said. Like the previous Friday, demonstrators concentrated at the Wad Nubawi mosque of the opposition Umma party in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman. Video footage showed dozens of people marching outside the mosque, chanting and calling for the regime's overthrow before police on pickup trucks fired tear gas, sending the crowd scattering.

"Some people were fainting because of the use of tear gas," said the rights group official. The government has called the demonstrators "rioters" who threaten Sudan's stability. The European Union, Canada, the United Nations, Britain and the United States have expressed concern over the response to the protests, which began over high food prices on June 16 at the University of Khartoum.
After President Omar al-Bashir announced austerity measures, including tax hikes and an end to cheap fuel, demonstrations spread to include a cross-section of people around the capital and in other parts of Sudan.

Bashir has played down the demonstrations as small-scale and not comparable to the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere, maintaining that he himself remains popular after 23 years in power.
Sudan has lost billions of dollars in oil receipts since South Sudan gained independence on July 9 last year, taking with it about 75 percent of Sudanese crude production.

The north has been left struggling for revenue, plagued by inflation, and with a severe shortage of dollars to pay for imports.

Source: AFP