Sudan protesters rally as anti-Bashir demonstrations enter fourth month
Scores of Sudanese protesters chanting "freedom, peace, justice" rallied in the capital on Monday, witnesses said, as a campaign against President Omar al-Bashir's rule prepared to enter its fourth month.
Three months ago on December 19 deadly protests erupted in the east African country over soaring inflation and have since turned into rallies against Bashir's 30-year rule, with demonstrators demanding he step down.
Anger has been brewing for years in Sudan over the country's financial woes with demonstrators accusing Bashir's administration of mismanaging the economy.
On Monday protesters took to the streets in Khartoum's northern suburb of Bahari and in an area called Street 60, witnesses said.
"Protesters are chanting freedom, peace, justice," a witness said, referring to a slogan that has become the movement's catchcry against Bashir's rule.
Police fired tear gas at demonstrators in Street 60 area, while some students also protested in a college in an upmarket Khartoum district, witnesses said.
"Who killed our martyrs?" asked protesters as they gathered in the capital's Street 60 area, a witness told AFP.
Officials say 31 people have died in violence during the protests so far, but Human Rights Watch has put the death toll at 51 including medics and children.
The campaign against the veteran leader's administration was initially led by the Sudanese Professionals' Association, a group of teachers, doctors and engineers.
Since then, several political parties have joined the SPA to form an umbrella network called the Alliance for Freedom and Change, which is now leading the campaign.
Bashir, 75, has remained defiant and imposed a nationwide state of emergency on February 22 to quell the protests after an initial crackdown failed to rein in the movement.
A slew of measures accompanied the state of emergency, including a ban on unauthorised rallies, the setting up of special courts to investigate violations and more powers were granted to the security forces to carry out raids without warrants.
Bashir also dissolved the previous federal government and installed a new cabinet tasked with tackling the worsening economic crisis, the key factor behind protests.
The protest campaign is seen as the biggest challenge Bashir has faced since he swept to power in 1989 in an Islamist-backed coup.