UPDATE 1-Sudanese police fire tear gas at student protesters

Mon May 5, 2014 11:05am EDT

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KHARTOUM May 5 (Reuters) - Riot police fired tear gas at dozens of Sudanese students protesting against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Monday, witnesses said.

The protest outside the University of Khartoum was prompted by clashes between student supporters and opponents of Bashir. One student died in March during a similar protest at which the police used tear gas and batons.

Islamist leader Bashir has stayed in power for over two decades despite armed rebellions, U.S. trade sanctions, an economic crisis, an attempted coup and an indictment from the International Criminal Court on charges of masterminding war crimes in the troubled region of Darfur.

The students chanted "our university will always be free," and "no, no to the merchants of religion," during their demonstration, which was dispersed within minutes by the security forces.

The protest was one of several organised by the Khartoum University students since March. It was the first since the university's resumption two weeks ago of classes which were suspended after the March protests.

Bashir's regime faces a deteriorating economy with a sharp drop in oil revenues, the main source of government income, and rising inflation after losing most of his active oilfields with the secession of South Sudan in 2011.

His government's decision to cut subsidies and take other austerity measures last September prompted the worst wave of street protests in years, leaving dozens dead and hundreds jailed. (Reporting by Khalid Abdel Aziz; Writing by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Andrew Roche)

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