KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese authorities arrested seven university professors, a human rights lawyer said on Monday, extending a crackdown on opposition activists after fuel price increases touched off the country's worst unrest for years.

The Khartoum government cut fuel subsidies to ease a financial crunch aggravated by the secession of oil-producing South Sudan in 2011. The move doubled pump prices overnight and triggered violent protests in which dozens of people were killed and more than 700 people arrested.

The seven academics were detained on Sunday evening as they met at Ahfad University in the capital, lawyer Nabeel Adeeb said. The meeting was held to discuss a common stand against the crackdown, another professor aware of the encounter said.

"We call on the authorities to release (them)," Adeeb said.

The South's departure deprived Khartoum of three-quarters of the crude oil output it relied on for state revenues and foreign currency needed to import food.

Rights groups and some diplomats said up to 150 people died when security services in the vast northeast African state fired on protesters. The government put the toll at 34 dead and denied shooting any protesters, whom it dismissed as "vandals".

On October 3, 35 people appeared in a Khartoum court accused of vandalism over their role in the disturbances.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; writing by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Mark Heinrich)




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