Se­cu­rity forces fire tear gas as more protests hit Su­dan

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - REGION -

KHAR­TOUM: Se­cu­rity forces fired tear gas to dis­perse pro­test­ers who marched after noon pray­ers in the Su­danese cap­i­tal Khar­toum Fri­day to de­mand Pres­i­dent Omar al-Bashir step down from 30 years in power.

Anti-gov­ern­ment protests first flared last month and have posed the most se­ri­ous chal­lenge yet to Bashir, a for­mer army gen­eral who is wanted by the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court for al­leged war crimes in the Dar­fur re­gion.

In pre­vi­ous weeks, demon­stra­tions have be­gun only after sun­down and the num­ber of peo­ple at this Fri­day’s protests ap­peared smaller than in the past.

Reuters wit­nesses said se­cu­rity forces used tear gas against dozens of demon­stra­tors in Al-Hal­faya Bahri in south­ern Khar­toum and against a sep­a­rate demon­stra­tion by dozens of peo­ple who had emerged from Sayyed Ab­del-Rah­man Mosque in Om­dur­man, on the other side of River Nile to the cap­i­tal.

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

In Om­dur­man, army forces on mini­trucks with au­to­matic guns were seen guard­ing petrol sta­tions.

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

Footage posted on so­cial me­dia showed a stream of demon­stra­tors pass by the mosque while chant­ing deroga­tory slo­gans against Bashir’s Is­lamist-based ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The au­then­tic­ity of the record­ing could not im­me­di­ately be ver­i­fied.

North of Khar­toum, wit­nesses said demon­stra­tors blocked the main road link­ing the cap­i­tal to the Red Sea city of Port Su­dan, wit­nesses said, with­out giv­ing fur­ther de­tails.

Since Dec. 19, Su­dan has been rocked by al­most daily protests sparked by ris­ing food prices and cash short­ages amid a deep­en­ing fi­nan­cial cri­sis. They have since turned against Bashir’s nearly 30 years in of­fice. At least 22 peo­ple have been killed so far, in­clud­ing two se­cu­rity per­son­nel, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures. Hun­dreds have also been in­jured and hun­dreds more have been ar­rested.

Three demon­stra­tors were killed in protests Thurs­day and Amnesty In­ter­na­tional ac­cused se­cu­rity forces of chas­ing in­jured vic­tims into the Om­dur­man hos­pi­tal. –

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