A prominent member of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) told VOA any Tunisian-inspired uprising aimed at forcing President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to step down will, in his words, amount to nothing.
Rabie Abdelati Obeid contends that, unlike Tunisia or neighboring Egypt, President Bashir was democratically elected in a recent election he described as credible, free and fair.
“This group of opposition, when they didn’t find any support from the people during the election, now tries to work outside the (political) institutions. Several times this group tried to instigate the people for uprising and to demonstrate against the government, but they didn’t have any response from the people,” said Obeid.
“I don’t imagine that the people of Sudan, who (democratically) elected a government, (will) come again and work against this government. And, here in our capital (Khartoum), there is no information about any demonstration which is calling for President Bashir to step down or to topple the government.”
He further said that Sudanese want a peaceful democratic transformation of state institutions, but not what the opposition is calling for.
Sudanese police clashed with students Sunday as anti-government protests broke out in the capital, Khartoum. Hundreds of students took part in the protests shouting slogans that criticized high prices, the government, and President Omar al-Bashir.
The students were responding to Internet pleas for peaceful, anti-government rallies. Organizers said they were inspired by the protests that toppled Tunisia's president and the ongoing demonstrations in Egypt.
Obeid said the opposition is incapable of organizing a Tunisian-style protest to force President Bashir to cede power.
“There is no justification for that (protest). In Tunisia, only a small group, or some individuals, actually (hold) power and (are) practicing dictatorship, as well as in Egypt. In Egypt, it is governed by a special group and there is no freedom like the freedom in our country and no actual distribution of power throughout the country. This is the cause of these uprising(s),” Obeid said.
“But, here in Sudan, the majority of the people participate in different governmental institutions. And, even in the states, there is no intervention of the federal government in the policies or legislations of these states. The government of these states is elected by the people.”
Witnesses say riot police broke up one demonstration near the presidential palace and battled students on the grounds of at least two universities. At one of the schools, students threw stones at police who fired tear gas and beat the protesters with batons.
The opposition Umma party says authorizes have arrested about 40 protesters.
The protests coincided with the first official announcement that southern Sudan has voted to secede from the north.