Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] on Friday urged [press release] Sudanese authorities to cease violence against protesters and journalists. The call came after the country's police in Khartoum used tear gas and batons against civilians who protested over austerity cuts on Sunday. The protest was initiated by student activists and expanded [Reuters report] into several neighborhoods. The proposed austerity measures will cut government jobs and raise fuel prices. Paule Rigaud, Deputy Director for Africa for the AI, stated that the country demonstrated its unwillingness to respect its citizens' right to peaceful assembly. In addition to the excessive use of force against protesters, police have arrested bloggers and journalists to block the spreading of the protests via media. It was reported that an Egyptian journalist, Salma Elwardany, was put under house arrest for publishing a report [Bloomberg report] on the dissolution of the Khartoum State Government.
Sudan has been called on multiple times to improve its human rights situation. Last week, Mashood Adebayo Baderin, the newly appointed UN Independent Expert on Human Rights in Sudan, stated [JURIST report] that the country must still work to improves freedoms of expression and the press. In May, AI had already urged [JURIST report] the country's government to stop its censorship practice of seizing newspapers from the printing press as well as harassing and arresting journalists.