Protests Sudan students march defying crackdown

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Riot police stand guard outside the University of Khartoum following an earlier demonstration play

Riot police stand guard outside the University of Khartoum following an earlier demonstration

(AFP)

Around 300 Sudanese students and schoolchildren marched in the capital Khartoum on Thursday, defying government efforts to quell persistent protests against fuel subsidy cuts that have led to spiralling prices.

Dozens of anti-riot policemen and security service agents moved in to disperse the demonstration, cordoning off the north Khartoum neighbourhood where it was held, an AFP correspondent reported.

"No, no to high prices. Bring down prices of medicines," the marchers shouted.

The cuts have led to a nearly 30 percent hike in the price of fuel, leading to stiff increases in the cost of other goods, including medicines.

A previous round of fuel subsidy cuts in 2013 sparked serious unrest that was only suppressed with a deadly crackdown that drew international condemnation.

The government has been determined to avoid any repetition and has rounded up at least a dozen opposition leaders whose parties had called for protests, the latest four prominent leftists on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said on Tuesday that 26 people arrested during protests would face trial on charges of breach of the peace.

The government has been forced to progressively cut fuel subsidies since 2011 when South Sudan seceded, taking with it nearly three-quarters of the formerly united country's oil reserves.

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