Protesters stage 'martyrs' rally' in eastern Sudan to honour those killed in anti-government protests

Protesters stage 'martyrs' rally' in eastern Sudan to honour those killed in anti-government protests
Protesters have reiterated calls for President Omar al-Bashir to step down at a demonstration in honour of those killed in Sudan's bread protests.
2 min read
08 January, 2019
Amnesty International says at least 37 have been killed in Sudan's 'bread protests' [Anadolu]
Hundreds of protesters gathered in the eastern Sudanese town of al-Gadaref on Tuesday to stage a "martyrs' rally" to honour those killed in anti-government protests last month, witnesses said.

Deadly protests have rocked Sudan since December 19, when unrest broke out over a government decision to steeply raise the price of bread.

Sudanese authorities say at least 19 people, including two security personnel, have been killed during the demonstrations, but rights group Amnesty International has put the death toll at 37. Six people were killed in al-Gadaref, an impoverished agricultural town.

The town's main market was shut as demonstrators gathered in the downtown area, chanting slogans such as "Peace, justice, freedom" and "Revolution is the choice of the people".

Riot police responded with rounds of tear gas as people prepared to march to the provincial council building, witnesses said.

Groups of protesters managed to reach the compound of the council building and one of their representatives read out a petition calling for President Omar al-Bashir to resign, one witness told AFP.

The protest was organised by the Sudanese Professionals' Association, a group of teachers, doctors and engineers that has spearheaded the ongoing anti-government demonstrations across the country.

Protests erupted across Sudan amid a mounting economic crisis worsened by an acute shortage of foreign currency.

The cost of food items and medicines in the country has more than doubled and inflation has hit 70 percent. Food and fuel shortages have been regularly reported across several cities, including Khartoum.

The protests later developed into anti-government demonstrations calling for the end of President Omar al-Bashir's 29-year rule.

More than 800 protesters have been arrested across Sudan since the unrest began, Interior Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said Monday, while describing the current situation as "calm and stable".

Opposition leaders, activists and journalists have also been detained as part of a crackdown on dissent.