Security forces fired tear gas to
disperse demonstrators who marched after noon prayers in the Sudanese capital
Khartoum on Friday to demand that President Omar al-Bashir step down from 30
years in power.
Sudanese demonstrators march along the street during anti-government protests after Friday prayers in Khartoum, Sudan January 11, 2019.
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.
In previous weeks, demonstrations
have begun only after sundown and the number of people at this Friday’s
protests appeared smaller than in the past.
Reuters witnesses said security
forces used tear gas against dozens of demonstrators in al-Halfaya Bahri in
southern Khartoum and against a separate demonstration by dozens of people who
had emerged from Sayed Abdel Rahman Mosque in Omdurman, on the other side of
River Nile to the capital.
Security forces chased demonstrators
into side streets but there were no immediate reports of casualties, they said.
In Omdurman, army forces on
mini-trucks with automatic guns were seen guarding petrol station.
In a separate incident, witnesses
said hundreds of demonstrators emerged from a mosque known to be affiliated to
Bashir’s government in Jabra neighborhood in southern Khartoum while chanting:
“The people want the fall of the regime.”
Footage posted on social media
showed a stream of demonstrators pass by the mosque while chanting derogatory
slogans against Bashir’s Islamist-based administration. The authenticity of the
recording could not immediately be verified.
North of Khartoum, witnesses said
demonstrators blocked the main road linking the capital to the Red Sea city of
Port Sudan, witnesses said, without giving any further details.
Since Dec. 19, Sudan has been rocked
by almost daily protests sparked by rising food prices and cash shortages amid
a deepening financial crisis. They have since turned against Bashir’s nearly 30
years in office.
At least 22 people have been killed
so far, including two security personnel, according to official figures.
Hundreds have also been injured and hundreds more have been arrested.