Khartoum: Appeal for Tuition Fee Waiver followed by State Repression leads to Student Uprising

Karthoum, December 2012:
Appeal for Tuition Fee Waiver followed
by State Repression leads to Student Uprising
- at least four Students Died

Students continued their protests in Khartoum (Sudan) on Monday, 10 December. Four Darfuri students from Gezira University were found in a canal in Wad Madani a day before.

Human Rights Watch reports in a press release:

The students were reported missing earlier in the week during protests over the university’s refusal to register Darfuri students unless they paid full tuition.

On December 2, national security officials entered the university and arrested 11 Darfuri students who had appealed to the administration for a fee waiver. In the following days, students protested at the university. Police, national security officers, and pro-government students clashed with the protesters.

Approximately 60 were arrested on December 5, according to Sudanese groups following the case. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch said the government security forces pushed the protesters toward the canal, causing several students to fall in. Six protesters were reported missing, including the four whose bodies were later recovered from the canal. Two other students are still missing.

Khartoum's police force announced in a press statement issued late Sunday night that 47 people were arrested for 'attempted disturbance'. It was added that 'the students were blocking traffic and creating chaos and riots, in addition to damaging of public and private property, including a bus and a number of public transport vehicles'.

The statement said that the police is 'in control' of the situation 'without causing injuries among the protesters'.

However, the Darfur Student Organization rejected the police's statement and stressed that the National Congress Party (NCP) 'militia' and the police used excessive violence against the students. The spokesman of the organization added that a number of students were arrested and several injured after the first day of protests.

Injured student, Omda Mohamed Suleiman, told Radio Dabanga that government forces used excessive violence against the protesters on Sunday. He explained that security forces supported by Rabata, students supporting the NCP, attacked the demonstrators with teargas, batons and sticks, leaving several students, including him, injured. Suleiman added they had seen security forces arresting a number of students.

The second day of protests started from Neelain University where crowds of students gathered. Sources told Radio Dabanga that approximately four thousand students protested all over Khartoum.

It was reported that the security and police forces used excessive violence against the peaceful protesters; beating them with batons, spraying them with teargas and using live ammunition and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

According to eye-witnesses, at least 60 students were injured in Monday's protests.

The National Commission for Human Rights expressed its concern about the violations which occurred during the student demonstrations in Khartoum and the subsequent student arrests on the International Day for Human Rights.

The Commission stressed in a statement issued on Monday that during the recent events a number of rights, which are included in the Sudanese constitution, were violated such as the right to life, the right to education and the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression.

According to activists renewed clashes between students and police took place at the Islamic University in Omdurman on Tuesday, 11 December. Some say that the student dorms are on fire.
Furthermore they report on blottr.com that
"over the weekend eight young students were killed by government forces attempting to dismantle protesters' roadblocks in Wau, in the state of Western Bahr el Ghazal."

From June through August of 2012, Sudanese security forces cracked down on a wave of student protests, sparked initially by austerity measures, in towns across Sudan.

videos of December 9th:

sources:
allafrica.com + hrw.org + blottr.com + sudantribune.com + radiodabanga.org + observers.france24.com + Sudan Change Now (facebook)