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News > World

Sudan: 30 Consecutive Days of Protests Besiege President

  • A tear gas canister fired to disperse anti-government protests in Khartoum, Sudan Jan. 15, 2019.

    A tear gas canister fired to disperse anti-government protests in Khartoum, Sudan Jan. 15, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 January 2019

At least 24 people have died in an ongoing revolt to overthrow the 75-year-old President Omar al-Bashir.

Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has now faced 30 consecutive days of citizen protests, which have disrupted his attempt to change the country's constitution to allow him to implement a new mandate.

Sudan: 3 More Anti-Bashir Protesters Killed by Police

"The government does not change through demonstrations," President al-Bashir said in the city of Nyala, a day after protesters demonstrated there for the first time.

The protests began on Dec. 19 to highlight food shortages. The rising inflation unleashed fury in a country that is going through a severe economic crisis, which started when South Sudan gained independence in 2011 and took oil resources.

The al-Bashir Administration has responded to protesters with forceful repressive actions that, according to official figures, have left 24 people dead and hundreds injured. Human rights organizations, however, maintain that at least 40 citizens have been killed, so far.

Sudanese authorities detained several journalists on Dec. 14 during a protest, in Sudan's capital Khartoum, against the confiscation of Al Yarida - an independent newspaper whose director, Ashraf Abdelaziz, was arrested.

Dozens of reporters gathered Tuesday in front of the information office of the Security and Intelligence Services to reject actions against the newspaper and press censorship. Al Yarida representatives denounced, in a statement, the seizure of the newspaper by authorities some fifteen times since the beginning of the demonstrations against President al-Bashir.

The overall protest which first targeted living conditions has turned into one about the administration, echoing the 2011 uprisings that swept across other countries - including Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Bahrain - which mimicked Sudanese's common cry: "The people want the [adminstration] to fall."

"It is not protests anymore. It's almost a full-fledged revolution," Muhammad Osman, a Sudanese political analyst said and explained that the protests' scale is unprecedented because "multiple constituencies are joining forces against al-Bashir's administration in order to achieve radical change."

This week's demonstrations have also been spurred on by cash shortages due to restrictions on withdrawals aimed at keeping money inside banks.

The Association of Sudanese Professionals, which brings together left-leaning non-official union groups, has been integral to the organization of demonstrations and is now calling for new night protests Thursday in Khartoum and in the city of Omdurman.

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