AFP: Sudanese police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of peaceful protesters on Friday, the 14th day of anti-regime demonstrations sparked by inflation, witnesses said.
Protesters had gathered in the capital’s Hijra Square beside the mosque of the opposition Umma party in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman. Police said the crowd numbered in the thousands and one person was reported injured.
One witness said demonstrators carried Sudanese flags and banners reading “The people want the regime to fall,” a slogan used by protesters during the Arab Spring uprisings against regional strongmen over the past year.
After the tear gas and an unknown number of arrests, demonstrators burned tyres and threw stones at police before running for cover, the witness said.
Similar running battles between protesters and police occurred in the Bahri district of
Khartoum, where tear gas was also fired, the witness added.
Demonstrators planned major protests for Friday and Saturday, the 23rd anniversary of a coup by President Omar al-Bashir.
Human rights groups say scores of people have been detained since the protests against high food prices began on June 16 at the University of Khartoum.
Among those held Friday was Sudanese journalist Talal Saad, who had brought some freelance photos of the protests to the AFP bureau in Khartoum. Armed national security agents raided the bureau, ordered AFP’s correspondent to delete the photos and took Saad away.
After Bashir announced austerity measures, including tax hikes and an end to cheap fuel, the protests spread to include a cross-section of people in numerous locations throughout the capital and other parts of Sudan.
Demonstrators, typically in groups of 100 or 200, have burned tyres, thrown stones and blocked roads in a call for regime change which has almost universally been met by police tear gas.
Bashir has played down the demonstrations as small-scale and not comparable to the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere, maintaining that he himself remains popular.
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