Southern Sudan referendum starts as scheduled (3)

08:41, January 10, 2011      

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People waited in queue for hundreds of meters for the voting at the polling station at John Garang museum. Voters danced and sang slogans such as "Freedom is burning" ahead of the referendum.

Deng Ayok, a 28-year-old university student who stopped his study in Khartoum, Sudan's capital, and returned to the south in November, led his family to vote at Juba University Sunday morning.

"I hope the referendum can reflect our will and lead to a permanent peace and stability of all Sudanese people," he said. " We had suffered so much during the civil war. We need dignity and human rights in a peaceful and stable land."

However, the first hour of voting registered low turnout at the polling centers in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

Badr-Eddin Hiraiz, Director of the al-Gerif Shareg polling center in eastern Khartoum, told Xinhua that by 9:00 a.m. local time, only one southern Sudanese voted at this center, the biggest in the capital, with 1,088 registered voters.

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