Death toll in­creases amid protests in Su­dan

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Regional -

po­lice fired tear gas yes­ter­day at crowds of anti-gov­ern­ment protesters in Khar­toum af­ter or­ga­niz­ers called for na­tion­wide ral­lies against Pres­i­dent Omar al-Bashir. Au­thor­i­ties say the protests have left 24 peo­ple dead, while Hu­man Rights Watch has put the death toll at 40, in­clud­ing chil­dren and med­i­cal staff.

Protesters chant­ing “peace, peace” and “rev­o­lu­tion is the peo­ple’s choice” took to the streets in the cap­i­tal’s district of Ba­hari, but were quickly con­fronted by riot po­lice, wit­nesses told AFP.

Protests that first erupted in the prov­inces on Dec. 19 over a gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion to triple the price of bread have swiftly es­ca­lated into na­tion­wide ral­lies widely seen as the big­gest threat to Bashir’s three­decade rule. A na­tion of 40 mil­lion peo­ple, Su­dan has strug­gled to re­cover from the loss of three quar­ters of its oil out­put-its main source of for­eign cur­rency-when South Su­dan se­ceded in 2011.

In ad­di­tion, 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.

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

Protests also broke out yes­ter­day in the western war-torn re­gion of Dar­fur, af­ter calls for ral­lies there by the Su­danese Pro­fes­sion­als’ As­so­ci­a­tion, which has spear­headed the demon­stra­tions.

Protesters there took to the streets of El-Fasher, the cap­i­tal of North Dar­fur state. The demon­stra­tion was the first of its kind in Dar­fur since the un­rest be­gan.


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