TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Hundreds of protesting men and women convened in areas of downtown in the capital Khartoum on Sunday but dozens of riot police officers began attacking the protesters with tear gas when a group of organizing anti-government rallies called for a march on the presidential palace, witnesses said.
“Police are not even allowing 10 people to gather,” a witness said.
On Sunday, anti-government rallies were also held in the city of Madani, located southeast of the capital, with protesters chanting for “peace, justice, freedom.” A separate demonstration was staged in the northern town of Atbara, from where the current wave of unrest first erupted.
Sudan has been rocked by near-daily demonstrations 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 rallies.
In the initial days of the protests, 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 crackdown on suspected organizers.
The public display of anger soon escalated into calls for Bashir, who took power in 1989, to resign.
According to figures provided by authorities, at least 19 people, including two security personnel, have so far been killed in violent clashes. However, rights group Amnesty International says it has “credible reports” that at least 37 people have lost their lives since the onset of the rallies.
Videos posted on social media networks, purportedly of Sunday’s rallies, showed protesters fleeing down the streets and alleyways in the downtown area trying not to inhale the noxious gas.
On Saturday, the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, a group of doctors, teachers and engineers, had called for the march after organizing similar protests in recent weeks.
“We will march on the palace on Sunday calling for President Bashir to step down,” the association said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Sudan's Labor Minister Bahar Idris announced at a press conference that a pro-government rally would be staged Wednesday at the capital’s Green Yard, a large open ground in Khartoum, adding that the rally would express “the choice of the Sudanese people and address the present crisis.”
The Wednesday demonstration would be the first pro-Bashir rally since protests began last month.
Additionally on Sunday, Sudanese security authorities detained at least eight faculty members from Khartoum University, after they participated in anti-government protests.
It was the first time the faculty of Sudan’s oldest and most prestigious educational institution has joined the protests since last month.
According to witnesses, security forces barred professors and lecturers from joining the rallies outside the university.
Police held some 100 professors in the faculty club house for nearly three hours after arresting eight of their colleagues, witnesses added.
Sudanese authorities have launched a clampdown on opposition leaders, activists and reporters to prevent the spread of rallies. Authorities have declared curfews and states of emergency in several states. Residents say police have used live ammunition in some cases to disperse the protesters.
The African country has been struggling with a growing economic crisis over the past year led by 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 increasing lack of food and fuel has been regularly reported across several cities, including the capital.
Source: Press TV