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Large protests erupt in Khartoum after declaration of emergency order

Sudanese protesters wave the national flag during an anti-government demonstration in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman on 31 Jan 2019. Photo AFP.jpg
February 22, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Large protests have erupted in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum Friday night following a speech delivered by President Omer al-Bashir in which he dissolved the government and declared a one-year state of emergency.

Following the end of the speech, hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Khartoum, Khartoum North and Omdurman demanding the removal of the regime and calling on al-Bashir to step down.

The demonstrators flooded streets and alleys of a number of neighbourhoods in Burri, Jabra, Al-Daim, Al-Manshia, Al-Mawrada, Al-Thawra, Al-Mazad, Al-Sha’abia and Shambat.

The protests came in response to a call from the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA), an umbrella organization of trade union spearheading the protests that have been ongoing since last December.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese opposition said al-Bashir’s speech hasn’t met the people’s demands aiming at removing the regime and establishing a transitional government.

In a press statement following the president’s speech, a leading figure at the opposition National Consensus Forces (NCF) Satei Al-Hag said al-Bashir’s call for dialogue came too late.

He said the government must stop the crackdown on protesters, calling to abolish all laws that restrict freedoms as well as releasing political detainees and allowing general freedoms.

Deadly protests have rocked Sudan since December 19, with demonstrators holding nationwide rallies calling on al-Bashir to resign.

The government said 31 people have died in the violence, while other credible reports including from Human Rights Watch says at least 51 people have been killed.

Also, dozens of demonstrators have been injured and hundreds arrested during the protests.

Speaking to SkyNews Arabic Service, Sudanese journalist Faisal Mohamed Salah said that the imposition of the state of emergency increases the confrontations between the security authorities and the opposition and weakens the chances of political solutions.

Saleh added that the regime now is pushing towards violence and called on the international community to increase pressure on the government to avoid the repetition of civil wars that occurred in other countries following the Arab Spring.

"The regime has rejected all the advice and the time has come to take serious steps against him," he stressed.

ARREST CAMPAIGN

On the other hand, media sources told Sudan Tribune the security authorities have launched an arrest campaign on the bases of the emergency order.

They pointed out that the Chief-Editor of Al-Tayyar newspaper Osman Mirghani has been arrested at late night on Friday from the premises of the news daily.

Also, the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said security forces have stormed its doctors’ residence in Khartoum using tear gas.

It pointed out that all doctors inside the residence have been arrested after they took to the streets to protest against the president’s speech.

(ST)