The country’s media has reported on protests – mostly student-led – across the country, including in the capital Khartoum, since early December, after the government announced it was hiking the price of bread from one Sudanese pound to three ($0.02 to $0.06).
Severe shortages of fuel and bread, both subsidized by the government, have forced people in the capital and other cities to queue at bakeries and petrol stations.
On Wednesday (December 19), a state of emergency was declared in the historical town of Atbara after citizens set fire to the Sudanese ruling party’s offices.
In the past year, the cost of commodities has more than doubled in Sudan, where inflation is running at close to 70%.
At least three people were killed during similar protests in January.
Sudanese Prime Minister Motazz Moussa said bread subsidies would not be lifted, adding the government will create new policies “to direct subsidies to the deserving, as we cannot subsidize the financially able.”
He said Sudan’s budget for 2019 includes 66bn Sudanese pounds ($1.4bn) in subsidies, with 53bn Sudanese pounds ($1.1bn) allocated to fuel and bread. Sudan increased flour subsidies by 40% in November.