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Security Forces Fire on Anti-Government Protesters

Security Forces Fire on Anti-Government Protesters

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets Thursday in cities across Sudan, including the capital, where activists said two people were killed in clashes between police and protesters attempting to reach the presidential palace to demand longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir step down.

A tear gas canister fired to disperse Sudanese demonstrators, during anti-government protests in the outskirts of Khartoum, Sudan.

Mohammed Yousef, a spokesperson for the Sudan Association of Professionals, said protesters were prepared to continue to press their grievances while remaining "patient and wise".

Before police opened fire, some mourners had pelted police nearby with rocks and damaged a police auto, a Reuters witness said.

A video posted on social media and verified by Reuters showed security forces pointing guns at protesters.

In a separate demonstration, Muslim worshippers who had gathered for Friday prayers chanted "Freedom, peace, justice" in a mosque in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum, witnesses said.

"The Sudanese authorities must immediately take charge of the security forces and ensure they stop using lethal force against protestors". Mohamed Naji Al-Assam and Ahmed Rabi of the Sudanese Professionals Association' Secretariat were arrested and detained on January 4 and 5, respectively.

"They [al-Bashir's government] are not going to improve the country".

In Sudan, security forces opened fire today on a crowd of mourners outside the home of a man who died after he was shot by authorities during an earlier protest in the capital, Khartoum.

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The High Commissioner noted that fact-finding committees had been established by the Government and the National Commission of Human Rights.

"We are appalled at reports that security forces have used tear gas and violence within hospitals against those being treated and against doctors providing medical assistance", said British Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen on Thursday.

"Violence won't help Sudan overcome its many problems", said Jehanne Henry, associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

Sudan, which until 2017 was subject to longstanding global sanctions affecting the country, cooperates with several United Nations human rights mechanisms, most recently the Human Rights Committee, which last reviewed the country in December 2018, as a State party to the worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, since 1986.

But he said the authorities would act to "protect lives and public property against sabotage and arson and all other forms of violence perpetrated by some demonstrators".

Sudan has suffered from a chronic shortage of foreign currency since South Sudan broke away in 2011, taking with it the lion's share of oil revenues.

Since Dec. 19, various areas in Sudan, including Khartoum, have been witnessing protests over the deteriorating economic conditions and price hikes of basic commodities.

In power since 1989, al-Bashir has pledged to carry out urgent economic reforms amid ongoing calls by the opposition to continue demonstrating.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday he was anxious about the situation in Sudan and encouraged the government to respect human rights and "restrain any form of handling the situation of demonstrations that can undermine those rights and can of course be risky to people".