People take part in protests in Khartoum, Sudan. File picture: REUTERS
People take part in protests in Khartoum, Sudan. File picture: REUTERS

Khartoum — About 150 doctors held a silent sit-in on Monday outside a hospital in Sudan’s capital to protest against the killing of a medic during anti-government protests in Khartoum last week, witnesses said.

Deadly protests have rocked Sudan since December 19 after a government decision to triple the price of bread.

The demonstrations, which quickly morphed into nationwide rallies against President Omar al-Bashir’s three decades of rule, have left 26 people dead so far, according to officials. Rights group Amnesty International has put the death toll at more than 40.

The medic was killed on Thursday during clashes between protesters and security forces in the capital’s eastern district of Burri, according to a doctors’ committee linked to the Sudanese Professionals Association, which is leading the protest movement.

Killing a nation

On Monday, doctors, some dressed in white medical coats, staged a silent sit-in outside the Ahmed Al-Gassib Hospital, where the medic worked. They carried placards that read “killing a doctor means killing a nation”, as security personnel were deployed around the hospital, witnesses said.

On Friday, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty’s deputy director for East Africa, said it was an “outrage that Sudanese security forces continue to use lethal force on protesters and key service providers like doctors”. But Bashir rejected the accusations.

“The doctor who was killed in Burri was killed by a weapon that did not belong to the army, or NISS, or police,” Bashir said at a rally in the state of White Nile on Sunday, referring to the country’s feared National Intelligence and Security Service.

“He was killed by someone from among the demonstrators.”

Though the protests began against the cutting of a vital bread subsidy, they come at a time when Sudan suffers from an economic crisis driven by an acute shortage of foreign currency and soaring inflation that has more than doubled the price of food and medicines.

The Sudanese Professionals Association has called for night-time demonstrations on Tuesday in Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman. More rallies are werealso planned for Thursday “across all towns and cities of Sudan”, the group announced.