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Terrorism & Security

Sudan sees Egypt-inspired protests in the North, jubilation on referendum in the South

Antigovernment protests in North Sudan led to the death of a university student Sunday while South Sudanese celebrated an overwhelming vote for independence.

By Taylor BarnesCorrespondent / January 31, 2011

Southern Sudanese celebrate the announcement of preliminary referendum results in the southern capital of Juba on Sunday, Jan. 30. Referendum officials indicated that nearly 99 percent of all voters cast ballots in favor of southern independence.

Pete Muller/AP Photo

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Protesters in northern Sudan gained their first “martyr” late Sunday night when a student died in the hospital from injuries sustained in a police confrontation. The protests, which were inspired by neighboring Egypt and Tunisia, started Sunday. They came as South Sudan announced the near-unanimous results of its referendum vote on secession from the north.

Hundreds of young people in the country’s north were beaten by police with batons in the sporadic antigovernment protests. Armed police surrounded at least six universities today to prevent students from leaving the campuses, according to Reuters. Students in Khartoum University were tear gassed in their dormitories late Sunday, leaving at least five injured.

The news wire adds that students in north Sudan began clashing with police over rising food and petrol prices earlier this month, but protests have grown after demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt gained attention. Demonstrators have begun to call for regime change and widened their list of complaints to include corruption and the country’s practice of sentencing women to be lashed.

The police were not immediately able to comment on the death, and the morgue holding the demonstrator’s body declined to comment to Reuters. The BBC identifies the activist as Mohammed Abdulrahman, a student at Ahaliya University in Omdurman. It also reports that one human rights activist said Mr. Abdulrahman had been shot.

The Sudan Tribune notes that north Sudan already faces an economic crisis and stands to lose billions in oil revenue as the oil-rich south secedes. Opposition forces blame the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for the worsening economy and the secession of the south, the Tribune adds.

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