Sudan police fire tear gas as protests erupt in Khartoum, Darfur

Sudan police fire tear gas as protests erupt in Khartoum, Darfur

Sudan police fire tear gas as protests erupt in Khartoum, Darfur

At least 24 people have been killed in Sudan since protests began on December 19 over the country's deteriorating economy, the country's public officer said on Saturday.

Sudan's political crisis shows no sign of easing as anti-government protests enter their fourth week, with activists calling for further marches despite a violent crackdown on demonstrations.

Qatar's ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, called Al Bashir shortly after the protests began to offer his support.

In a separate incident, witnesses said hundreds of demonstrators emerged from a mosque known to be affiliated to Bashir's government in Jabra neighbourhood in southern Khartoum while chanting: "The people want the fall of the regime".

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say at least 40 have been killed in the protests, initially sparked by price rises and shortages but soon shifted to calls on Sudan's longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir to step down.

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Across the Nile in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman, three demonstrators were killed on Wednesday as police fired tear gas to disperse the protest, the authorities said.

Anti-government protests first flared last month and have posed the most serious challenge yet to Bashir, a former army general who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in the Darfur region.

Since Dec.19, Sudan has been rocked by nearly daily protests sparked by rising food prices and cash shortages amid a deepening financial crisis.

Repeated shortages of food and fuel have been reported in several cities, including the capital, Khartoum, while the cost of food and medicine has more than doubled.

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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Since the secession of South Sudan in 2011, Khartoum lost three quarters of its oil revenue, crippling an economy already wracked by 20 years of United States 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.

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

But critics of Bashir say his government's mismanagement of key sectors and its huge spending on fighting ethnic minority rebellions in Darfur and areas near the South Sudan border have been stoking economic trouble for years.

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