Johannesburg – Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has banned all unlicensed public gatherings and given sweeping powers to Sudan’s security forces in a series of emergency decrees as he battles to douse mass protests which continue to engulf the country.
The decrees were issued on Monday as the most sustained anti-government street protests continued in various parts of the capital Khartoum with police using tear gas against hundreds of female university students at Sudan’s oldest women’s university, the Middle East Monitor (Memo) reported on Tuesday.
Security forces now have the power to search any building, restrict movement of people and public transport, arrest individuals suspected of a crime related to the state of emergency and seize assets or property during investigations.
Prosecutors will now be able to strip people, including lawmakers and military officials, of immunity allowing them to set up special emergency courts.
Furthermore, any news that is deemed “to harm the state or citizens” will be punishable with up to 10 years in jail. Trading or hoarding fuel products and subsidised goods, leaving Sudan with more than $3,000 or 150 grammes of gold is now banned.
Daily protests, which erupted in December over perceived government economic and political incompetence, have cost the lives of over 50 protesters during clashes with security forces according to human rights groups. Thousands of people have also been arrested.
African News Agency (ANA)