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Thousands march in Khartoum North as demonstrations spread to Darfur

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Demonstrators in the streets of Khartoum North on 13 January 2019 -(ST photo)
13, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Police and security forces on Sunday used tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition to disperse massive demonstrations that swept through Khartoum’s north district of Bahri, calling to overthrow the regime of President Omer al-Bashir.

Last Thursday, an umbrella organization of independent professional unions spearheading the anti-government protests that have rocked the country for four weeks, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), called on the Sudanese to take to streets of Bahri to demand the removal of the regime.

On Saturday, large security forces were deployed on Bahri’s major streets, squares and bus stations to prevent the protests from taking place, a tactic that has been used during the past four weeks to thwart protest plans.

However, thousands of protesters managed to gather in Bahri’s main bus station and nearby alleys of several neighbourhoods chanting “peace, peace” and “revolution is the people’s choice”.

Eyewitnesses told Sudan Tribune that masked men on white vehicles carrying no plates have brutally attacked the protesters and arrested dozens of them.

Also, residents of Al-Amlak and Al-Danagla neighbourhoods complained that the security forces have stormed their homes and fired tear gas inside the houses.

Meanwhile, hundreds of residents of Shambat, one of Bahri’s old suburbs have taken to the alleys of their neighbourhood forcing security forces to chase them down the side streets for several hours.

Reuters news agency said its cameraman Al-Tayeb Siddiq has been hit by a rubber bullet as he was covering the protests. Also, journalist, Mohamed Abdel-Majed, has been arrested during the protests.

Eyewitnesses said female journalist, Aisha al-Samani, was brutally beaten by the security forces, stressing the latter fired live ammunition at a number of protesters.

Moreover, hundreds of protesters on Sunday took to the streets of El-Fasher, capital of North Darfur and Nyala, capital of South Darfur in the first demonstration of its kind in Sudan’s western region since the unrest began last month.

Also, various Sudanese cities including Wad Medani, Port Sudan and Atbara on Sunday have seen similar protests.

Protests that first erupted on 19 December 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 three-decade rule.

A government fact-finding commission has recorded 24 deaths while Amnesty International said at least 40 people have died.

Also, dozens of protesters have been injured during the demonstrations and thousands were arrested by security forces.

It is noteworthy that the SPA has called for a larger rally on Thursday demanding the Sudanese to take to streets across the country in a move that is widely seen as a prelude to declaring the general political strike and civil disobedience.

So far, the Sudanese doctors and pharmacists have entered into an open strike that is expected to be followed by similar strikes of the teachers, engineers and lawyers.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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