Wednesday, 19 June, 2019

Protester's Funeral New Flashpoint in Sudan's Spreading Unrest

Protesters chanted for 'freedom peace and justice' Image Protesters chanted for 'freedom peace and justice'
Pablo Mccormick | 20 January, 2019, 19:39

The government crackdown has been harsh over the past month, with rights advocates reporting the use of excessive force by police and Amnesty International accusing security forces of firing tear gas and live ammunition in and around hospitals.

This followed the killing of two other protesters Thursday elsewhere in Khartoum-a doctor and a 16-year-old, who were both shot in the head by government forces.

Two to three thousand mourners had gathered in Khartoum's Burri neighbourhood where the 60-year-old man, Moawia Othman, was shot on Thursday evening during demonstrations against the 30-year-old rule of President Omar al-Bashir. Several were wailing and crying and some were carrying Sudanese flags. It said other people had sustained bullet wounds.

A group that is spearheading anti-government protests across Sudan on Saturday said it plans to launch more nationwide rallies over the next few days, including a march on parliament.

In a call for the authorities to refrain from further violence, amid reports that security forces fired live rounds and tear gas into hospital premises, where protesters were sheltering, the High Commissioner said that the official toll "may be almost twice as high", citing "credible" reports.

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Authorities say at least 24 people have died since the protests first broke out on December 19 after a government decision to triple the price of bread.

"This blatant violation of national and worldwide laws must stop immediately, and independent and impartial investigations must be promptly launched into all allegations of human rights violations, including the deaths reported in the context of the protests, so that all those found responsible are brought to justice in fair trials", said Sarah Jackson. Police could not immediately be reached for comment.

As security officers quickly dispersed the main rallies in the centre of the city, the demonstrations spread to residential areas on the outskirts of the capital.

The SPA later said another protester had also died during the day.

"I think people have really had enough".

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After riot police broke up the march in downtown Khartoum, crowds of residents in the capital's Buri district staged a new rally, witnesses said. According to The New York Times, up to 28 have died in clashes, while Human Rights Watch now estimates the death toll at 40.

The SPA source said the association intends to hold protests at night in residential areas in order to tire out the Sudanese security services.

The tough government response has drawn worldwide criticism, while Bashir has blamed the violence on unidentified "conspirators".

That has triggered soaring inflation that has seen the cost of food and medicines more than double, and frequent shortages in major cities, including Khartoum.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that he was "very worried" about the situation in Sudan.

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Sudan's ambassador Omer Dahab Fadl Mohamed told the UN Security Council on Thursday that Khartoum was "fully committed to giving citizens a space to peacefully express their views".

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