At least 22 dead in Sudan protests
TRT World: Anti-government protests that have rocked Sudan have left 22 people dead, authorities said Thursday, after three demonstrators died hours after thousands cheered for President Omar al Bashir at a rival rally in Khartoum.
Bashir told the rally of thousands of supporters in the capital Khartoum that he would stay in power despite weeks of demonstrations against his 30-year rule.
His speech failed to quell the unrest, with security forces fighting running battles on Wednesday with protesters in the city of Omdurman on the opposite bank of the Nile. Sudan’s state news agency SUNA said on Thursday that three protesters were killed during protests in Omdurman on Wednesday.
Protesters have been staging demonstrations almost daily for weeks, enraged by shortages of bread and foreign currency.
The unrest has come as the ruling party has pressed ahead with plans to change the constitution so Bashir can stay in office beyond his present term, which ends in 2020.
A defiant Bashir challenged his opponents to face him at the next election and blamed unnamed foreign powers for provoking the protests.
“[To] those who are seeking power, there is one way which is the ballot box, through free and fair elections,” said Bashir, who opened and closed his address dancing to patriotic music and waving his cane in the air.
Around the time of Bashir’s speech, security forces across the river in Omdurman used tear gas to break up a demonstration of more than 200 people. Later, Reuters saw hundreds of protesters chant “freedom, freedom” while several main roads were closed. There was a massive presence of security forces in the main streets.
“We are struggling to provide our daily life needs,” a 43-year-old protester who asked not to be identified told Reuters. “We will continue to protest until Bashir’s government falls.”
Police officers chased demonstrators into side roads, from where they regrouped to resume their protest. Hundreds also blocked a main road, witnesses said.
A video shared on social media and verified by Reuters showed a group of protesters marching with banners and chanting: “The people want the fall of the regime,” a line made famous across the region during the Arab uprisings of 2011.