Death toll hits 24 in Sudan protests, official says

Blanche Robertson
January 13, 2019

At least 24 people have been killed in Sudan since protests began on December 19 over the country's deteriorating economy, the country's public officer said on Saturday.

Organizers called for nationwide demonstrations over the next week demanding Bashir resign.

Qatar's ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, called Al Bashir shortly after the protests began to offer his support.

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 Sayed Abdel Rahman Mosque in Omdurman, on the other side of River Nile to the capital. The rest were killed in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman and regions north and northeast of the capital.

In response to the demonstrations, riot police and security agents have broken up the rallies by firing live ammunition and volleys of tear gas, rights groups reported.

The protests that first broke over the price rise have quickly turned into anti-government demonstrations, with angry crowds calling for an end to Bashir's three decades 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.

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"Right now, some of the opposition groups and trade unions are trying to mobilize more protests, and probably they are thinking of how to escalate", said Matt Ward, senior Africa analyst at Oxford Analytica, according to AFP.

Since Dec.19, Sudan has been rocked by nearly daily protests sparked by rising food prices and cash shortages amid a deepening financial crisis.

Bashir and other officials have blamed Washington for Sudan's economic woes.

Sudan's National Human Rights Commission, the top governmental human rights body, has condemned the killing "by bullets" of protesters during the ongoing wave of protests across the country, calling on the authorities to bring those responsible to justice.

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.

The crackdown has drawn worldwide criticism, with countries like Britain, Norway, Canada and the United States warning Khartoum that its actions could "have an impact" on its relations with their governments.

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