INTRODUCTION: A crowd estimated at more than 50,000 marched through central Khartoum on Tuesday (9 June) in support of President Jaafar Nimeiri.
GV President Nimeiri and group of officials walk down red carpet towards rostrum in Freedom Square opposite People's Palace, Khartoum
GV Crowd of demonstrators holding banners and chanting
SV President Nimeiri waving to crowd
AERIAL VIEW Crowds gathered in Freedom Square listening to President Nimeiri
CU President Nimeiri speaking in Sudanese
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Background: INTRODUCTION: A crowd estimated at more than 50,000 marched through central Khartoum on Tuesday (9 June) in support of President Jaafar Nimeiri. The march was a show of strength for the government following a strike by 43,000 railway workers. The workers began a five-day strike on 30 May to protest against the dismissal of colleagues and to draw attention to steep increases in the cost of living. The government has recently had to increase duties on certain imports to appease international creditors.
SYNOPSIS: The crowd marched to Freedom Square opposite the People's Palace in the centre of Khartoum where they were addressed by President Nimeiri. Hours after the strike started the President dissolved the railworkers' union and banned its leader from union or political activities. River transport and catering workers joined the action which the government has declared illegal. The strike is yet another problem for President Nimeiri whose 12-year rule has survived three serous coup attempts and numerous plots.
The thinly populated country of 18 million people has been repeatedly buffeted by civil wars and tribal feuds in neighbouring states. There are also fears of Libyan inspired subversion from Chad where Libyan forces have intervened in the civil war. Both countries have demanded the expulsion of the other from the Arab League.
The President told the crowd that Libya's president Gaddafi was behind the unrest. He appealed to workers to be patient until oil started flowing from fields in the east of the country.