Sudan police fire tear gas as protests erupt in Khartoum, Darfur
13 January, 2019, 19:59 | Author: Myra Gill
Protests that first erupted on December 19 over a government decision to triple the price of bread have swiftly escalated into broader demonstrations widely seen as the biggest threat to Bashir's rule in his three decades in power.
At least 24 people have been killed in Sudan since protests began on December 19 over the country's deteriorating economy, the country's public officer said on Saturday.
Witnesses told AFP that police were pursuing protesters down Bahari's streets and alleys.
Reuters witnesses said security forces used tear gas against dozens of demonstrators in al-Halfaya Bahri in the south of Khartoum and against a separate demonstration by dozens of people emerging from Sayed Abdel Rahman Mosque in Omdurman, which sits on the other side of the River Nile from the capital.
Police arrested several protesters, witnesses said, as footage of the rally which could not be independently verified spread on social media networks.
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. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and other abuses against civilians during the Darfur conflict.
Anti-government demonstrations first erupted in towns and villages before spreading to Khartoum last month.
"The Government of Sudan must also take immediate action to stop the practice of shooting protesters and respect the Sudanese people's right to freedom of expression", said Sarah Jackson, the human rights group's Deputy Director for East Africa.
Although the trigger was the rise in the price of bread, Sudan has faced a mounting economic crisis over the past year, led by an acute shortage of foreign currency.
In a strongly-worded statement, Sudan's National Commission for Human Rights slammed the attack on the Omdurman hospital and called for a swift investigation into the deaths of citizens.
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.
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.
Al-Bashir says change could only come through the ballot box.
Since the secession of South Sudan in 2011, Khartoum lost three quarters of its oil revenue, crippling an economy already wracked by 20 years of U.S. sanctions.
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