30 January 2013

Sudan: East Witnesses Protests Over Transportation Crisis

Khartoum — Police in the coastal town of Port Sudan used tear gas to disperse protests by angry commuters stranded due to lack of public transportation.

The demonstrators blocked major highways in the city after gathering in the central market and accused bus owners of skipping work during peak hours for unknown reasons.

Police's intervention resulted in slight injuries among some elderly people, eyewitnesses said. A number of Port Sudan officials flocked to the main bus station to defuse the situation.

The head of Port Sudan's bus drivers union accused some local MPs of inciting citizens to demonstrate following an increase in transportation fares.

But a member of Port Sudan's local assembly from Ouhaj locality pushed back saying that the union should have sat down with them before increasing the fares.

Vehicle components and other imported goods have soared in price since Sudan lost the bulk of its foreign exchange earnings when South Sudan separated in July 2011 with roughly 75 percent of the oil produced by formerly-unified Sudan.

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