KHARTOUM, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Police used tear gas on Monday to disperse
around 300 people who demonstrated for several hours in the Sudanese capital
against spiralling inflation, witnesses and activists said.
It was the biggest protest for months in Khartoum. Sudan has avoided an
"Arab Spring", like that in Egypt and Tunisia, but anger has been building
over an economic crisis and inflation hit 21 percent in August.
Police tried to disperse the protesters in the Barri quarter but they
regrouped several times and blocked roads until the evening, two witnesses
and one activist told Reuters.
"There were some 300 protesters, including women. They shouted: 'No to high
prices'. It went on until the evening," said one witness who did not want to
The interior ministry said in a statement police had ended what it called a
"limited" riot. Traffic had been blocked temporarily when protesters burned
some tyres, it added.
Protesters could be seen marching on a street with smoke in the background,
apparently from burning tyres, according to a video, posted on YouTube,
purportedly a film of the protest.
Food prices have risen 25 percent in the past year. The Sudanese pound hit a
new low on the black market on Monday.
Last week activists refused to buy meat for three days to protest against
rising prices. The government reacted with a package of measures, including
temporarily waiving duties on basic food imports.
Economists doubt whether inflation will fall because Sudan lost most of its
oil reserves when South Sudan became independent. This reduced the inflow of
foreign currency needed to pay for imports and the scarcity of imports
pushed up prices.
The economy is dependent on oil and small-scale gold exports which the
government plans to expand. The government wants to diversify the economy
but progress has been low which experts blame on U.S. trade sanctions and
poor planning. (Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Ulf Laessing;
Editing by Robert Woodward)
South Sudan inflation jumps 57 pct in August on food prices
Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:27pm GMT
JUBA, Sept 26 (Reuters) - South Sudan's annual inflation rate surged to 57.1
percent in August, propelled by a surge in the cost of food, the new African
South Sudan became independent on July 9 under a 2005 peace agreement with
its former civil war foe Khartoum but has been struggling to build up state
institutions and contain tribal and rebel violence killing 3,000 people this
Month-on-month inflation accelerated by 9 percent in August, driven by
higher cost for fish, sugar, cooking oil and some fresh meat products, the
national statistics bureau said in a statement obtained on Monday.
On an annual level, inflation hit 57.1 percent in August due to a jump in
the rise in cost of food and non-alcoholic beverage -- the biggest component
in the consumer price index -- by 63.9 percent
Last week, the United Nations warned Sudan would face food shortages from
next year as agricultural production was hit by violence and heavy rains.
Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said prices would ease by
December as supplies would improve after Juba signed a border agreement with
Khartoum to open ten border crossings earlier this month.
Borders between north and south were closed before Juba's indepenedence.
"We used to get most of our finished goods from the north so when they
closed the borders (in May), they caused a shortage in the market. There
were few goods so the prices went up," Benjamin said.
"(There) was the rampant marketing in black market hard currency in the
beginning - our currency was not pegged at the proper rate. Our central bank
has properly fixed it," Benjamin said.
Trade would also increase with east African neighbours Uganda, Kenya and
Ethiopia, he said.
(Reporting by Hereward Holland; Editing by Ulf Laessing)
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Received on Tue Sep 27 2011 - 08:52:19 EDT