Death toll increases amid protests in Sudan
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.