Protesters march on Omar al-Bashir’s residence amid calls to step down
Demonstrators mark second day of sit-in outside Sudanese president's compound
Khartoum — Thousands of protesters held a sit-in outside Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s residence in central Khartoum on Sunday, having camped there overnight, following the biggest demonstration in months of protests against his 30-year rule, witnesses said.
At least one person died on Saturday during “rioting” in Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city, state news agency Suna said.
Sudan has seen months of mostly small but sustained protests in which dozens of demonstrators have been killed dissenting against Bashir’s rule. Security forces have used tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition to disperse protests.
Bashir has refused to step down, saying that his opponents need to seek power through the ballot box.
Since the sit-in began on Saturday, security forces tried several times to clear the protesters from the compound’s vicinity using tear gas, including on Sunday morning, but thousands remained.
Sudanese activists called for Saturday’s protests to mark the anniversary of the 1985 military coup that overthrew autocratic president Jaafar Nimeiri following mass protests against his rule. The protesters urged the military to side with them once more in their bid to push Bashir out of power.
Apart from Bashir’s residence, the compound, the most heavily guarded in Sudan, also houses the defence ministry and the headquarters of the national intelligence and security service.
Thousands of protesters also gathered in the Burri neighbourhood of Khartoum on Sunday, where they blocked several main roads, witnesses said.
The person killed on Saturday was a laboratory doctor who died of his injuries, according to a statement from an opposition doctors’ committee. Medical staff have played a prominent role in the protests.
Suna said other civilians and police officers were wounded on Saturday in Omdurman.
Police and security forces on Saturday blocked all bridges leading to the capital’s centre from Khartoum North and Omdurman, across the River Nile to the north and west respectively, in what appeared to be a bid to prevent the sit-in from swelling.
The bridges remained closed on Sunday, causing traffic jams.