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Iran Press TV

Sudan police clash with anti-govt. protesters amid calls for Bashir's resignation

Iran Press TV

Thu Jan 24, 2019 07:11PM

Sudanese police forces have fired teargas canisters at hundreds of protesters in the capital Khartoum as anti-government demonstrators are mounting pressure on President Omar al-Bashir to step down over price hikes and shortages in the east African nation.

Hundreds of protesters, chanting "Freedom, peace, justice" and "revolution, revolution," were marching on the presidential palace in the capital's Burri district on Thursday when riot police forces confronted them with tear gas.

Sudanese Professionals' Association (SPA), an umbrella group of unions representing doctors, teachers and engineers, had called for protest rallies to be held in 17 places in Khartoum and the country's second largest city of Omdurman, from where demonstrators were told to march towards the palace.

In Burri, crowds of protesters reportedly blocked all roads leading to the district with tree trunks, iron pipes, rocks and burning tires.

According to witnesses, a number of villages along the highway linking Khartoum with the central city of Madani also saw demonstrators taking to the streets.

"Today, the police are using less force but even if they use more force we don't care," said a protester, adding, "We will achieve our mission of overthrowing" the government.

The African country has been jolted by near-daily protests since December 19, in the wake of a move by the government to triple the price of a loaf of bread, which angered people and triggered the demonstrations.

In the initial days of the rallies, several buildings and offices of Bashir's ruling National Congress Party were set alight by protesters. Riot police have so far managed to disperse the rallies, and security agents have arrested several opposition leaders and activists in a clampdown on suspected organizers.

The public display of anger soon spiraled into calls for Bashir, who took power in 1989 through a military coup, to step down, blaming him for the country's problems.

Sudanese authorities have since declared curfews and states of emergency in several states. Residents say police have used live ammunition in some cases to break up the protesters.

The country has been struggling with a growing economic crisis, including a serious shortage of foreign currency. The cost of some commodities, including medicines, has more than doubled and a soaring inflation has hit 70 percent.

The growing lack of food and fuel has been regularly reported across several cities, including Khartoum.

Official figures say that at least 27 people, including three security agents, have lost their lives since the onset of the rallies. However, some rights groups say at least 40 people have so far died.

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