Millennium Post - - Front Page -

KHAR­TOUM: A group or­gan­is­ing anti-gov­ern­ment protests across Su­dan vowed to stage new demon­stra­tions on Sun­day, in­clud­ing for the first time in the war-torn re­gion of Dar­fur.

Protests that erupted in the prov­inces on De­cem­ber 19 af­ter the gov­ern­ment tripled the price of bread have es­ca­lated into na­tion­wide anti-gov­ern­ment ral­lies, with demon­stra­tors call­ing for Pres­i­dent Omar al-bashir to re­sign.

Au­thor­i­ties say at least 24 peo­ple have died in the protests, while rights group Hu­man Rights Watch has put the death toll at 40, in­clud­ing chil­dren and med­i­cal staff.

On Sun­day, protest or­gan­is­ers 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”. They also urged protests in Niyala and El-fasher in Dar­fur, the first such ral­lies to be called in the re­gion.

“The peo­ple of Niyala and El-fasher, we call on you to gather in down­town like other towns and vil­lages who are call­ing on Pres­i­dent Bashir to step down,” the Su­danese Pro­fes­sion­als’ As­so­ci­a­tion said in a joint state­ment with an al­liance of op­po­si­tion groups.

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.

Dar­fur has re­mained largely calm since last 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.

Anti-gov­ern­ment demon­stra­tions first erupted in towns and vil­lages be­fore spread­ing to Khar­toum last month.

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