PHOTOS - taken by activists showing detention of SPLM leaders and protesters outside parliament in Khartoum, Sudan on 7 Dec 2009
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December 7, 2009 — Below pictures taken by activists on Monday December 7, 2009 showing the detention of the SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum and his deputy for northern Sudan Yasir Arman. They were among the first people to arrive outside the National Assembly in Omdurman at 7:45 am. Five minutes after the arrival of the SPLM leaders the riot police started to arrest and beat protesters
More demonstrators were arrested in front of Omduran police central station at 09:00am following the detention of Pagan and Arman.
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From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, 7 December 2009:
[Khartoum] – Police in Khartoum dispersed a demonstration organized by a coalition of opposition parties on Monday.- - -
Security agents arrested the SPLM secretary-general Pagan Amum, his deputy Yasir Arman, and another senior SPLM official Abbas Gumma, who were leading the protest. The men were later released.
Opposition parties had called for a peaceful demonstration in front of the National Assembly to protest against delays in passing key CPA legislation.
The coalition’s spokesman, Farouk Abu Issa, spoke to SRS during the demonstration.
[Farouk Abu Issa]: “The government has deployed its troops on the ground to prevent the demonstration. They shut down the schools and the government institutions and declared the day as a public holiday and decreed that the demonstration was illegal. This measure is a big defeat for a government that pretends that it is strong and claims that it represents the nation.”
SRS was able to speak to SPLM secretary-general Pagan Amum, from the prison where he was being detained.
[Pagan Amum]: “I’m being detained in Omdurman prison, we went out to have a peaceful demonstration, and we informed the authorities in advance, according to the law. The law in article 26/2 allows political parties to organize peaceful political demonstrations. We informed the concerned bodies 72 hours in advance. But the NCP, not the government, decided last night to ban the demonstration and impose a public holiday to ban the demonstration and that is a violation of the constitution.”
The police insist that the demonstration was illegal.
A senior police spokesman, Colonel Abu Obaida El-Iragi, spoke to SRS after the arrests on Monday morning.
[Colonel Abu Obaida El-Iragi]: “The security committee announced yesterday (Sunday) that they had not received any application asking permission for the demonstration. So, no permission was granted. That is why the police announced that any demonstration held on Monday would be illegal.”
GONU reacted to the demonstrations by saying that permitting such demonstrations would lead to “the downfall of the dignity of the country”.
The adviser to the GONU Minister of Information, Dr. Rabie Abdullaati, spoke to SRS on Monday.
[Dr. Rabie Abdullaati]: “No one is above the law. Anyone who violates the law must be prosecuted according to the law. We don’t think that a special dispensation was given to anybody to violate the sovereignty of the law in broad daylight. If we allow such things to happen, it will lead to the downfall of the country’s dignity and the law of the jungle will prevail rather than the rule of law.”
Taj El-Sir Meki, a prominent political analyst based in Khartoum, has condemned GONU for breaking up the demonstration.
[Taj El-Sir Meki]: “The move clearly shows that the regime is not interested in democracy or democratic transformation. First of all, they (GONU) created a very complicated scenario. Last night, they announced a one-day national public holiday on the pretext that people should register to vote, because today (Monday) is the last day. The public holiday meant that the parliament, which was supposed to receive a petition from the demonstrators, was also closed.”
Opposition parties, including the SPLM, have accused the NCP of failing to enact a series of laws required by the terms of CPA. The NCP have responded by demanding that the SPLM should resume their seats in parliament to debate the issue. SPLM MPs have boycotted the Assembly in protest at the delays.
The NCP headquarters in Wau was torched on Monday afternoon by an angry crowd who gathered to protest against the arrest of the SPLM leaders in Khartoum.
From SRS - Sudan Radio Service, 7 December 2009:
[Juba] – The President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir, has called for the unconditional release of the SPLM officials who were arrested earlier in the day.
Pagan Amum and his deputy, Yasir Arman, were among fifteen people arrested on Monday as they took part in a demonstration outside the National Assembly.
Speaking after an emergency meeting of the SPLM political bureau in Juba, Kiir made this statement on the arrest of Pagan Amum and his deputy, Yasir Arman:
[Salva Kiir]: “Fellow Sudanese, friends, I take this opportunity to address the nation on the current political situation our country. You are all aware that this morning, the political situation in Sudan has yet again taken a shocking direction. Members of the SPLM leadership, constitutional post-holders, and members of the legislature in Khartoum, have been illegally arrested. This prompted us to call for an emergency meeting of the SPLM leadership. We resolved that the situation must be contained. The SPLM leadership also resolved to use all the necessary means to ensure that the country does not revert to war again.”
Kiir went on to insist that action should be taken against those who arrested the two senior SPLM members:
[Salva Kiir]: “We therefore call upon the National Congress Party to unconditionally release all detainees, including the SPLM secretary-general, his deputy, other comrades and any other Sudanese who were arrested this morning. We also hope that these citizens have not been mistreated during their period of detention. Those officers who arrested our members should really be brought to book. It should be noted that any continuation in the arbitrary detention of people will only worsen matters and will not serve the peace and stability of our country.”
The president went on to call for calm:
[Salva Kiir] “We call upon all Sudanese people to remain calm and to exercise the utmost restraint and exercise their constitutional rights of freedom of expression within the law.”
Kiir insisted that President al-Bashir reassured him that all the detainees will be released and that legislation concerning democratic transformation will be passed by the National Assembly.