Sudan Police Fire Teargas at Protesters over Worsening Economy


Sudanese police fired tear gas on Sunday to disperse angry protests in Khartoum over the country's worsening economic crisis.

Dozens of demonstrators had blocked 60th Street, a major artery in the east of the capital, setting up barricades and burning tires to voice their anger at soaring inflation, food shortages and power cuts.

"We can't find a loaf of bread for breakfast at school," said Hani Mohamed, a young protester in a high school uniform.

Protesters in Khartoum's sister city Omdurman also blocked a central street by erecting rudimentary barriers made of concrete blocks and used car parts.

Sudan has been reeling from an economic crisis since the ouster of autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 following mass nationwide protests sparked months earlier by high bread prices.

Soaring inflation, exacerbated by the global coronavirus pandemic, has brought more pain to the country of 40 million, where many are forced to queue for hours for a loaf of bread and endure hours-long power cuts.

Inflation reached a whopping 269 percent last month, according to official statistics, and the country is also struggling with some 60 billion U.S. dollars of debt. 

Earlier this month, Sudan signed a memorandum of understanding with outgoing U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for a bridging loan to clear $1 billion of arrears to the World Bank.

It also signed another $1 billion agreement with the U.S. Export and Import Bank.

Last week, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's fragile, transitional civilian-majority government approved its first budget since being removed from a U.S. blacklist last year to help rebuild the beleaguered economy.

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