Sudan police fire tear gas at protesters

Sudan police fire tear gas at protesters

Sudanese protest in the streets of the capital Khartoum on January 13, 2019.

Anti-government protests broke out in December over rising food prices and cash shortages, but they have quickly turned into demonstrations against the government.

Protests that first erupted across Sudan on December 19 over a government decision to triple the price of bread have swiftly escalated into broader demonstrations against al-Bashir's three-decade rule.

Authorities say the protests have left 24 people dead so far, while Human Rights Watch has put the death toll at 40, including children and medical staff.

"Patients and doctors in Omdurman Hospital were attacked with tear gas and live bullets as Sudanese security forces ramped up their mission to suppress peaceful protests", Sarah Jackson, Amnesty's deputy director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said on Thursday.

The association called for a major rally in the Khartoum North neighbourhood on Sunday, to be followed by further demonstrations in the capital during the week.

Some protesters carried national flags and chanted "peace, justice, freedom", which has become a key slogan at the rallies, and "with our soul, with our blood, we sacrifice ourselves for you Sudan". Witnesses said security forces were breaking into local homes and businesses in pursuit of demonstrators taking refuge there.

"Those who tried to destroy Sudan. put conditions on us to solve our problems, I tell them that our dignity is more than the price of dollars", Bashir said.

Women protesters, many wearing masks to protect themselves from tear gas, whistled and clapped as they marched in the streets of Bahari, the hub of Sunday's demonstration. The footage could not be independently verified.

At least 14 people were killed on Sunday in a traffic accident in western Sudan, an official of Sudanese North Darfur State said.

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Several streets remained blocked with burnt tyres and rocks thrown by protesters, a witness said, adding that riot police, some in vehicles loaded with machineguns, remained deployed in the area.

Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide in Darfur.

Protests were also reported in the central town of Madani and in some villages of the eastern impoverished, agricultural province of Gadaref.

The statement on Friday marks the first acknowledgement by a Sudanese state agency that live ammunition has been used since anti-government protests erupted last month.

Human rights groups say more than 1,000 people have been arrested since the protests began, including opposition leaders, activists and journalists as well as demonstrators.

In a joint statement on Tuesday last week, the United States, United Kingdom, Norway and Canada condemned the violence and said Sudan's "actions and decisions over the coming weeks will have an impact on the engagement of our governments and others in the coming months and years", referring to ongoing efforts by the U.S. and UK to normalise relations with Sudan.

He has insisted that the protests are part of a foreign plot to undermine Sudan's "Islamic experiment" and blamed the country's worsening economic crisis on global sanctions.

Shortages of fuel and food have hit several cities, including Khartoum.

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

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