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Sudanese women hold vigil for detained protesters
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Feb 13, 2011 - 7:09:16 AM

More than 20 women gather in Khartoum to call for the release of men arrested during protests inspired by Egyptian uprising

Women held a vigil outside Sudan's security service headquarters in Khartoum, calling for the release of men arrested during a series of protests inspired by Egypt's uprising.

In another part of the Sudanese capital, security officers prevented journalists from gathering to take part in a protest against the arrest of colleagues, a Reuters witness said. Officers detained five TV cameramen and photographers trying to cover the event.

Young men have held a series of small protests across north Sudan in recent weeks against price rises and human rights abuses. Some websites and protesters have called for regime change.

Police have moved in quickly and arrested participants, witnesses say. So far the protests have not gained the momentum seen in Tunisia or Egypt, Sudan's northern neighbour.

More than 20 women gathered outside the national security headquarters. Some brought photographs of the arrested men. Sumaya Habbani, the wife of a prominent opposition figure, Mubarak al-Fadil, said she would not leave until her two sons were freed.

Sudanese government officials have played down the domestic protests, saying they are isolated acts by students inspired by foreign activists and websites.

The government declined to comment on uprisings in Tunisia and neighbouring Egypt while they were taking place, then moved quickly to congratulate the protesters in those countries after they succeeded in ousting their leaders.

"We salute the Egyptian youth. A second greeting to the Egyptian youth, and a third greeting to the Egyptian revolution," President Omar al-Bashir told a crowd in Sudan's Northern state on Sunday, in a speech broadcast on state television.

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