Sudan Police Fire Tear Gas At Protesters In Khartoum

14 January, 2019, 09:28 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Sudanese protesters attend an anti-government demonstration in the capital Khartoum

Sudanese police fired tear gas Sunday at crowds of anti-government protesters in Khartoum after organizers called for nationwide rallies against President Omar Al-Bashir.

President Omar al-Bashir has been in power since 1989.

Deadly protests have erupted across Sudan since December 19 when the government tripled the price of bread.

The government says at least 24 people have been killed during the protests but Amnesty International has put the death toll at 40.

Some protesters carried national flags and chanted "peace, justice, freedom", which has become a key slogan at the rallies, and "with our soul, with our blood, we sacrifice ourselves for you Sudan".

Women protesters, many wearing masks to protect themselves from tear gas, whistled and clapped as they marched in the streets of Bahari, the hub of Sunday's demonstration.

"We look with great regret at the use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians...", it said. It did not say who fired the gunshots.

The European Union said Friday that the "use of force by security forces against civilians - including the use of live ammunition - has led to further casualties over the last few days".

In a separate incident, witnesses said hundreds of demonstrators emerged from a mosque, known to be affiliated to Bashir's government, in the Jabra district of southern Khartoum chanting: "The people want the fall of the regime".

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Khartoum police could not be reached for comment.

On Sunday, protest organizers called for demonstrations in the capital Khartoum and other towns including Madani, Kosti and Dongola as part of what they have called a "Week of Uprising".

Demonstrations were held in Gadarif, Faw and Amri, as well in the western region of Darfur, activists said, with eyewitnesses adding that police had broken up a 1,000-person strong demonstration in the northern Darfur town of el-Fasher.

Darfur, a region the size of France, has been torn by violence since 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against Khartoum, accusing it of economic and political marginalization.

The demonstration was the first of its kind in Darfur since the unrest began.

The crackdown has drawn global criticism with Britain, Canada, Norway and the United States warning Khartoum that its actions would "have an impact" on its relations with their governments. He has insisted that the protests are part of a foreign plot to undermine Sudan's "Islamic experiment" and blamed the country's worsening economic crisis on worldwide sanctions.

Shortages of fuel and food have hit several cities, including Khartoum.

The United States lifted 20-year-old trade sanctions on Sudan in October 2017, but many investors continue to shun a country still listed by Washington as a state sponsor of terrorism. It restricted Sudan from conducting worldwide business and financial transactions.

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