DESPITE a government crackdown, Sudan’s cost-of-living protests are unlikely to end soon.
Hundreds of people came out on the streets of Khartoum and Omdurman last Tuesday and Wednesday in growing unrest after bread prices more than doubled earlier this month following a jump in the cost of flour.
Riot police fired teargas and made a number of arrests, including the detention of opposition politicians. One eyewitness in Khartoum told IRIN he believes the “government is in trouble” as there is real anger on the streets towards an administration viewed as abusive and corrupt. “People are sick of the violence of the authorities; [the protesters] have been non-violent, but I see them taking a different step and starting to defend themselves”, he said.
The government of Omar al-Bashir has done away with subsidies on bread and fuel and devalued the currency to close a yawning budget gap. But Sudan’s economy could be in worse shape than the authorities are admitting, with a real inflation rate potentially as high as 50%. In 2013 the security forces killed dozens of people in similar cost-of-living protests.