Sudan Protesters Rally outside Army HQ for 2nd Day

Sudan Protesters Rally outside Army HQ for 2nd Day

Sudan Protesters Rally outside Army HQ for 2nd Day

"We will not leave this place until Bashir steps down", one protester said on condition of anonymity.

The demonstrators said they wanted to deliver a message to the country's armed forces to side with them in trying to push Bashir out of power.

He stressed that his government is seeking to achieve peace in all conflict areas in the country, saying "peace is the key for resolving all issues, whether political, economic, social or security".

"Today, we won and we are confident that the regime will fall", said Mohamed Saleh, a 63-year-old university professor who estimated the crowd to be at more than 100,000 people.

"Their trust must be won through concrete action by the government".

Several vehicles carrying NISS personnel and riot police arrived in the early hours Monday at the site where protesters have been demonstrating continuously since Saturday, witnesses told AFP.

Thousands of people gathered outside the presidential palace, which also hosts the army headquarters and Defense Ministry, to demand the resignation of long-time Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir.

Angry demonstrators have accused Mr Bashir's government of mismanaging the country's economy.

Protests first erupted on December 19 after a government decision to triple the price of bread.

Sunday's protests coincided with a nationwide blackout that the electricity ministry blamed on a technical glitch.

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Outside the army complex, protesters sang nationalist songs, whistling and clapping as they pressed on with the rally.

Some protesters used rocks to block a nearby bridge linking Khartoum with the northern Bahari district, causing huge traffic jams, onlookers said.

Several private companies declared a holiday at their offices, while some arranged to ferry water, snacks and juice to the protesters, according to witnesses.

SUNA said other civilians and police officers were wounded on Saturday in Omdurman, the scene of protests late into the evening that subsided by Sunday morning.

"Disproportionate and excessive use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition by security forces are critically injuring Sudanese citizens who are exercising their legal right to peaceful demonstration, causing serious long-term health risks and, in some cases, even death", said Rohini J. Haar, a medical expert at Physicians for Human Rights. The current wave of unrest erupted in December, initially over price hikes and shortages of food and fuel, but the demonstrations quickly morphed into calls for the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir.

On February 22, the veteran leader imposed a nationwide state of emergency to quell the protests after an initial crackdown failed to rein in the rallies.

Pharmacist Yassir Altybe, 35, told MEE that the number of protesters increased as people flowed in from different neighbourhoods, converging on the military centre.

"The scale of protests on Saturday illustrate that Bashir's gamble that he can save his regime through repression is proving to be a losing bet", said Murithi Mutiga of the International Crisis Group.

Bashir came to power in June 1989 after leading a military coup against his predecessor Ahmad Ali al-Mirghani.

Hundreds of protesters, including opposition leaders, activists and journalists have also been jailed by the widely-feared National Intelligence and Security Service.

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