South Sudan protests against U.S. arms embargo


Hundreds of protesters massed outside the U.S. embassy and U.N. headquarters in South Sudan’s capital on Tuesday, chanting slogans against an arms embargo imposed by Washington, before some attacked journalists at the scene.

The demonstrators handed in a petition to the United Nations, then some in the crowd turned on reporters, punching them and throwing stones, witnesses said. One foreign journalist needed medical treatment.

The United States banned the export of weapons and defense services to South Sudan on Friday, in a bid to pressure President Salva Kiir to end a four-year-old civil war.

Washington has already blacklisted several South Sudanese figures – the former army chief and several former or serving officers, a businessman and the information minister – that it says have helped stoke the conflict, which has triggered Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide.

Protesters held banners denouncing colonialism and chanted “America mind your own business, stop the arms embargo against South Sudan”.

“We are ready to defend South Sudan from any foreign invaders and oppression even if it means to die,” read the petition, presented by Gatluak Bol Dhew, the acting secretary general of South Sudan National Youth – a youth group which says it is not linked to the government or any political party.