Sudan cracks down on protesters

Interior minister says over 800 protesters have been arrested in anti-government protests across Sudan.


118 buildings were destroyed in the protests


At least 19 people have been killed in clashes during the protests

KHARTOUM - More than 800 protesters have been arrested from hundreds of anti-government demonstrations held across Sudan since last month, the interior minister said Monday.

"The total number of protesters arrested until now is 816," Ahmed Bilal Osman told parliament.

The figure was the first given by officials for those detained since deadly rallies erupted on December 19 after the government hiked bread prices.

Authorities say at least 19 people including two security personnel have been killed in clashes during the demonstrations, but rights group Amnesty International has put the death toll at 37.

Osman told lawmakers there had been a total of 381 protests reported since December 19.

He said that 118 buildings were destroyed in the protests, including 18 that belonged to police, while 194 vehicles were set on fire including 15 that belonged to international organisations.

"The demonstrations began peacefully, but some thugs with a hidden agenda used them to indulge in looting and stealing," the minister said, adding that the situation across Sudan was now "calm and stable".