Teargas used to disperse Kassala demonstrators

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Sudanese security forces fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators in Kassala, capital of the remote eastern state of the same name in the first protests the in city since unrest started in Khartoum nearly a month ago.

The protest erupted in the city’s largest market and vendors scrambled to shut their stalls and get out of the way.

Kassala was put under a state of emergency last year as authorities tried to stem smuggling on the eastern border.

Near-daily demonstrations triggered by a worsening economic crisis spread across Sudan since December 19, the most prolonged challenge to Bashir’s rule since he took power in a coup in 1989.

Government responded with a crackdown which officials say killed 24 people. Activists say at least 40 were killed. On Monday, Bashir insisted he would not step down, saying Sudan’s economic problems would not be solved by “vandalism”.

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), a group of trade unionists leading the protests, called for demonstrations to be held in 12 cities.