High school students have been leading protests in various parts of Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan, against austerity measures imposed on the government by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). At the behest of the IMF, the government cut subsidies for fuel, including cooking gas, doubling the prices. This led to protests, which were put down violently by security forces, leaving between 50 and 100 protesters dead. The human rights group, Amnesty International says the forces were shooting to kill. The economic crisis has been precipitated by the secession of South Sudan in 2011, leading to the loss of oil revenues. As usual, the IMF's prescription in this situation was to cut government spending, further worsening poverty for millions of Sudanese people. Apart from the fuel increases, inflation is running at 44%, making it impossible for many families even to buy food.

This is not the first time the IMF has visited depression on Sudan. It did the same in 1978, with a Structural Adjustment Programme, which involved the deferring of all new government projects, and resulted in five years of depression. The website AlJazeera reports one NGO official, who sums up the cruelty of the IMF's latest round of cuts: "Cutting fuel subsidies as a way of addressing Sudan's fiscal deficit may seem reasonable in the IMF's abstract econometric models, but it is actually quite unreasonable when applied in the context when many people are already eating only one meal a day." A quote in the same article from a spokesperson for the IMF is further proof of the distance of IMF eonomists from the reality for poor people: "International experience shows that most subsidy reforms occur without major civil unrest."

Sudan has an enrolment rate in primary schools of 41% and in secondary schools of 32%. As a result of the protests, the government has now closed schools completely until October 20th, causing further hardship to already hard pressed teachers and pupils. As well as working often in intolerable conditions, sometimes in the middle of conflict, teachers in Sudan have had to resort to strike action - sometimes to be paid at all, sometimes to try to improve their miserable salaries of between $80 and $120 a month. Such salaries are impossible to live on, especially given the aforementioned inflation.