Date created : 08/04/2019 – 07:07Latest update : 08/04/2019 – 09:52
Sudan’s army Monday deployed troops around its headquarters in Khartoum and blocked several roads leading to the complex, where protesters have massed demanding President Omar al-Bashir resign.
Witnesses said soldiers were putting up barricades in streets near the compound, where thousands of protesters have been demonstrating outside since Saturday urging the army to back them.
Since protests erupted across Sudan in December security agents and riot police have cracked down on demonstrators, but the army has so far not intervened.
Early on Monday morning, Sudanese security forces fired tear gas at the thousands of protesters who had massed outside the army headquarters for a second night demanding that President Omar al-Bashir resign.
At least five demonstrators have been killed in the weekend protests amid a fierce security crackdown that has also involved live fire, according to activists cited by AP.
Several vehicles carrying security personnel arrived in the early hours of the morning at the site where protesters had been demonstrating continuously since Saturday, witnesses said.
“After that, security forces began firing tear gas at protesters,” a witness said on condition of anonymity.
The gas was felt by residents in an upscale Khartoum district some five kilometres away from the army complex.
“I stepped out on my balcony hearing the sound of the gas canisters and could feel the gas in the air,” said one resident.
Thousands of protesters have been demonstrating since Saturday outside the army complex that also houses Bashir‘s residence and the defence ministry.
Chanting anti-government slogans, protesters have been urging the military to back them in demanding Bashir’s resignation.
They accuse his adminstration of mismanaging the country’s economy that has led to soaring food prices and regular shortages of fuel and foreign currency.
The veteran leader has acknowledged that the economic concerns raised by the protesters were “legitimate”.
Protests first erupted on December 19 after a government decision to triple the price of bread.
But they quickly morphed into nationwide demonstrations against Bashir’s rule.
According to New York-based rights group Physicians for Human Rights, at least 60 people have been killed since the protests began. The government has put the number of deaths at 32, including police officers among the victims, but that tally hasn’t been updated in weeks.
In recent weeks the scale and intensity of protests had dwindled due to a state of emergency imposed by Bashir, but Saturday saw a resurgence with thousands of protesters staging a continuous rally outside the army complex.
Protest organisers chose April 6 for the latest rally to mark the 1985 uprising that toppled the regime of then president Jaafar Nimeiri.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)
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