KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese riot police fired teargas at students on Friday as government supporters stormed the main university in the capital Khartoum, activists and witnesses said, in a second day of unrest on the campus.
Sudan has avoided the Arab Spring style uprisings which unseated rulers in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, but spiralling inflation sparked small protests which have broadened into demonstrations of discontent with veteran President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s rule.
A Reuters witness saw dozens of students running in panic from the campus in the centre of the city where a large fire was blazing. Several students said supporters of Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP) had stormed the university early in the evening and set its dormitory building on fire.
“Students from the NCP and other people supporting the government stormed the dormitory and set on fire rooms of pro-democracy activists,” a witness said, asking not to be named.
“The fire spread quickly to the whole dorm.”
A Reuters witness could also smell teargas which activists said had been fired by riot police.
At the university, the centre of dissent against Bashir who has been in power since 1989, more than hundred riot police and plain clothed security agents surrounded the campus where several police trucks were parked.
Several activists and witnesses said they thought the building had been stormed in a revenge for a protest on Thursday when opposition students demonstrated against the government at a graduation ceremony attended by Second Vice President al-Haj Adam Youssef.
“This was clear revenge,” said one student.
Sudan’s police could not be immediately reached for comment.
Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Ulf Laessing