Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Security forces fire tear gas as more protests hit Sudan

Death toll from protests rises to 24 Death toll hits 24 in Sudan protests, official says
Kenny Thornton | 13 January, 2019, 20:48

At least 22 people, including two security personnel, have been killed during the protests and hundreds wounded, officials say.

A group of doctors from the hospital said separately that police had fired tear gas at the facility and there was also "shooting inside the hospital".

Since then, tensions have escalated into nationwide rallies, with protesters calling for President Omar al-Bashir to resign.

On Sunday, protest organizers called for demonstrations in the capital Khartoum and other towns including Madani, Kosti and Dongola as part of what they have called a "Week of Uprising".

Footage posted on social media showed a stream of demonstrators pass by the mosque while chanting derogatory slogans against Bashir's administration.

Human Rights Watch said on Monday that at least 40 people had been killed, including children and medical staff.

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.

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.

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They also confronted protesters with tear gas in Wad Medani, the capital of Gezira state, southeast of the capital, and for the first time in Nyala, the main city in South Darfur, witnesses said.

Darfur, a region the size of France, has been torn by violence since 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against Khartoum, accusing it of economic and political marginalization.

The number of protesters killed in Sudan has risen to 24 since demonstrations began last month, according the head of the country's fact-finding committee, even as rights groups state a much higher toll.

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.

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 worldwide sanctions.

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

Washington imposed a trade embargo on Khartoum in 1997 that was lifted only in October 2017.

In a strongly-worded statement, Sudan's National Commission for Human Rights slammed the attack on the Omdurman hospital and called for a swift investigation into the deaths of citizens.

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