Protests continue in Sudan

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Dozens of protesters chanted anti-government slogans as they left a major mosque following Friday prayers in Omdurman a day after a prominent figure in President Omar al-Bashir’s party called for his resignation.

Security forces fired teargas and the crowd dispersed, a Reuters witness said.

The protest was smaller than other demonstrations in Sudan over the past two weeks triggered by price increases and shortages of cash and fuel following months of deteriorating economic conditions.

A group of unions organising protests urged people to again march on the presidential palace in Khartoum.

Al-Shafi’Ahmad Mohammad, the first secretary-general of Bashir’s National Congress Party, issued a call for Bashir to step down. In a voice recording circulating on a messaging app, he said Bashir should resign and form a transitional government “to save the country”.

Mohammad’s call, the first of its kind, came after opposition parties said they wanted Bashir to dissolve government and form a transitional administration that would set a date for elections.

Their petition also called for investigation of alleged abuses by security forces during recent demonstrations.

Bashir and the head of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service called for restraint in response to protests, which government officials blame on unnamed infiltrators.

Friday’s protesters, mainly young men, chanted “peaceful, peaceful” and “fall, fall,” as they called for a change in government.

The protests represent the most persistent opposition Bashir faced since he took power in an Islamist-backed coup nearly 30 years ago. The demonstrations are more widespread and sustained than unrest in September 2013 and January 2018.

Security forces fired live ammunition as well as teargas and stun grenades at protesters, witnesses say. They detained some protesters and opposition figures.

Officials acknowledged 19 deaths during the demonstrations. Amnesty International said it had credible reports of 37 protesters killed by security forces.