KHARTOUM (warsoor) – Security forces fired teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters close to the Sudan’s presidential palace on Thursday, before plainclothes officers armed with plastic piping rounded up around 30 people, witnesses said.
Police then chased activists through side streets as smaller rallies broke out across downtown Khartoum.
Demonstrators chanted “Peaceful, peaceful against the thieves” and “Down, that’s it!” – their central demand for President Omar al-Bashir to step down. The detained protesters, most of them young men and women, were driven away in pickup trucks, witnesses said.
A police spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Union members, students, opposition activists and others, frustrated with economic hardships, have held near daily protests since Dec. 19, in the most sustained challenge to Basher’s three decades in power.
The president and his ruling National Congress Party have shown no sign of bowing to those demands and have blamed the unrest on unnamed foreign powers. He and senior officials have used more conciliatory language in recent weeks, promising to release detained demonstrators.
But activists say hundreds remain in detention.
An opposition-linked doctors’ syndicate said last week that 57 people have been killed in the protests. The government puts the death toll at 31, including two security personnel.
Security forces have used teargas, stun grenades and live ammunition to break up demonstrations.
The unrest has been fueled by a deepening economic crisis marked by high inflation and shortages of bread, petrol and cash. The Sudanese pound fell to a record low on the black market on Thursday.
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