Sunday, 16 June, 2019

Police fire teargas as protests erupt in Khartoum

Sudanese demonstrators march along the street during anti-government protests after Friday prayers in Khartoum Sudan Sudanese demonstrators march along the street during anti-government protests after Friday prayers in Khartoum Sudan
Pablo Mccormick | 14 January, 2019, 09:30

They also urged protests in Niyala and El-Fasher in Darfur, the first such rallies to be called in the region.

A group of doctors from the hospital said separately that police had fired tear gas at the facility and there was also "shooting inside the hospital".

On Friday, security forces fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators who marched after noon prayers in the capital Khartoum, Reuters news agency reported.

On Sunday, protesters in Khartoum were seen carrying the Sudanese flag as others held banners bearing the words "peace, justice, freedom", which has become a key slogan in the rallies.

Human Rights Watch also said that at least 40 people, including children, have been killed in the protests, citing Sudanese activists and medical workers.

"We look with great regret at the use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians...", it said.

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Security forces chased the demonstrators into side streets but there were no immediate reports of casualties, the witnesses said.

Sudan has been rocked by protests since mid-December, with demonstrators decrying the government's seeming inability to rein in rampant inflation and acute commodity shortages.

Protest organisers have called for near daily demonstrations across the country against Bashir this week, calling it a "Week of Uprising".

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 marginalisation.

Sudanese officials including Mr Bashir have blamed the violence during demonstrations on "thugs" and "conspirators".

Mr Bashir, who seized power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, has been charged by the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) with genocide and war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur.

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Protests triggered by an economic crisis have rippled across Sudan since mid-December in the most sustained challenge yet to Bashir's rule.

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

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 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.

Darfur has remained largely calm since past year, with no anti-government demonstration held so far even as protesters staged hundreds of rallies in other cities that have been swiftly broken up by riot police.

The crackdown has drawn worldwide criticism, with countries like Britain, Norway, Canada and the United States warning Khartoum that its actions could "have an impact" on its relations with their governments.

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Al-Bashir says change could only come through the ballot box.

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