Calls for 'week of uprising' after 22 killed in Sudan protests

January 11, 2019

Sudanese protesters have called for a nationwide "week of uprising" to increase pressure on president Omar al-Bashir.

More than 800 journalists, activists, protesters and opposition leaders have been arrested since the unrest began, and 22 people, including two security guards, have been killed.

Security forces on Thursday fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the city of Omdurman, where Amnesty International said security forces had earlier opened fire on crowds and pursued injured demonstrators into a hospital.

"There must be an urgent investigation into this horrific attack, and all officers involved must be held accountable," Amnesty International said in a statement.

It comes after weeks of daily protests sparked by rising food prices and cash shortages, which have developed into opposition over the 30-year regime of the president.

Mr Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, spoke at a rally of supporters in response to the protests, telling his opponents to seek power through the ballot box.

After overthrowing an elected government in 1989 the former army general has since won elections, but opponents have say they were neither free nor fair.

"Those who tried to destroy Sudan... put conditions on us to solve our problems, I tell them that our dignity is more than the price of dollars," the leader told thousands of loyalists in the capital, Khartoum, on Wednesday.

He was likely referring to a 1997 US trade embargo on Sudan, which was lifted in October of 2017.

While the protests were sparked by the tripling of the price of bread, activists are now calling for Mr Bashir to step down.

"After successful rallies on January 6 and 9, we are now calling for a rally on Friday in Atbara," the Sudanese Professionals' Association, one of the protest organisers, said in a statement.

"We also urge the Sudanese people to continue with their demonstrations in their residential areas."

Sudan's inflation rate spiked in the last year and shortages of gas and cash became a problem - especially when the government responded by placing caps on the amount of money people could withdraw from banks.

The crackdown on protests has been condemned by rights groups and drawn international criticism from Britain, Canada, Norway and the US.

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