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Sudanese communist leader arrested as protests rage in Khartoum

KHARTOUM, May 19 (Reuters) – A prominent Sudanese politician was arrested on Thursday as protests raged in the capital Khartoum for the seventh month against military rule, with tear gas and the deployment of heavy security forces .

A military coup in October effectively ended a 2019 power-sharing deal between the generals who toppled President Omar al-Bashir and the political parties that opposed it.

One such party, the Sudanese Communist Party, said its leader Mohamed Mukhtar Al-Khatib was arrested on Thursday, following a visit to Juba where he met with key Sudanese rebel leaders.

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The party, which was the hardest against the coup and any future deal, was pursuing a unified front against the coup, he said.

Sudan’s economy has soared as its government has been without a prime minister since January. Businesses stagnate while citizens face steep increases in the prices of food, electricity and fuel.

“The military has failed economically, politically and psychologically – in every way,” said a 30-year-old protester and unemployed engineer who declined to be named for fear of reprisals. “They’re just stubborn now, but we’re more stubborn.”

Protesters marched in the scorching sun as security forces, including US-sanctioned Central Reserve Police, were deployed at key points along the protest route.

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Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by Richard Chang

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