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Sudan protesters teargassed amid call for nationwide rallies

Sudan protesters teargassed amid call for nationwide rallies

AFP
Khartoum
Sudanese police fired tear gas at protesters in the capital Khartoum and its twin city Omdurman after midday prayers on Friday as organisers urged nationwide demonstrations over the next week against President Omar al-Bashir.
Crowds chanting “freedom, peace, justice” demonstrated in two areas of Khartoum and in Omdurman just across the Nile, witnesses said.
They were quickly confronted by volleys of tear gas from riot police. Video footage purportedly showing worshippers chanting anti-government slogans inside a Khartoum mosque spread online on social media later Friday. The footage could not be independently verified.
Friday’s protests came after organisers called for nationwide demonstrations over the next week demanding Bashir resign.
Protests that first erupted on December 19 over a government decision to triple the price of bread have swiftly escalated into broader demonstrations widely seen as the biggest threat to Bashir’s rule in his three decades in power.
“We will launch a week of uprising with demonstrations in every Sudanese town and village,” the Sudanese Professionals’ Association said.
The group called for a major rally in Khartoum North on Sunday, to be followed by further demonstrations in the capital during the week.
The association, which has mobilised its membership to keep up the momentum of the protests, has also called for a rally later on Friday in the eastern town of Atbara, where the demonstrations first began. At least 22 people have been killed during the protests, including two security personnel, according to the authorities. Rights groups have put the death toll much higher.
Human Rights Watch said on Monday that at least 40 people had been killed, including children and medical staff.
Analysts say the challenge now for organisers is to get protesters onto the street in numbers.
“Right now, some of the opposition groups and trade unions are trying to mobilise more protests, and probably they are thinking of how to escalate,” said Matt Ward, senior Africa analyst at Oxford Analytica.

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