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In Khartoum, protest against 'land grab' turns violent

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows people in the Jreif district of the Sudanese capital Khartoum protesting against the government's land policies.

Clashes involving police have erupted in the Sudanese capital Khartoum as hundreds of people demonstrated in protest against the government's land policies.

The peaceful protest turned violent after riot police fired tear gas canisters at the demonstrators in East Jreif district.

“Our land belongs to our ancestors and the government wants to give it to investors. We are protesting to save our land,” a protester said, regretting that the government had shown no intention of compensating the land owners in case their property was seized.

Some protesters pelted police officers and members of security forces with rocks. Others burned tires and tried to close off all the streets in East Jreif.

Police had a heavy presence with reports saying that 15 trucks of riot policemen armed with batons were deployed in the area.

People stage routine protests in Sudan, complaining about local grievances, but most of the demonstrations are crushed by security forces. A similar demonstration in East Jreif last year led to the death of a protester. Anti-government rallies in April also left two students dead.

There was no immediate report of possible casualties during the Wednesday rally in Khartoum.

A government decision to slash fuel subsidies in September 2013 sparked mass protests in Sudan. Thousands of people took to the streets in the capital and some other towns, calling for President Omar al-Bashir to step down. Human rights groups say about 200 people were killed, hundreds were wounded and more than 800 were arrested in the protests. The government challenges the figures.

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