Khartoum — Sudanese security forces fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters in central Khartoum on Monday, while lawyers began to strike and the doctors' strike entered its eighth day.
The recently established Sudanese Professionals Association organised a second march in the Sudanese capital today, which broke into smaller demonstrations downtown according to witnesses.
Members and supporters of the Sudanese Professionals Association intended to walk to the to the Republican Palace in central Khartoum and hand a memorandum calling on President Omar Al Bashir and his government to step down.
It has been reported that officers arrested demonstrators while others looked on from rooftops and armoured vehicles with machine guns parked in surrounding streets. Tear gas was used to disperse crowds and bullets were shot at protestors according to a CNN correspondent, Yusra El Baqi, who was manhandled by police attempting to confiscate her mobile phone.
The crowd could be heard chanting: "The people want the fall of the regime." Protestors were also filmed openly jeering Al Bashir's motorcade.
In an address to police yesterday, Al Bashir called on police forces to refrain from using excessive force to quell demonstrators, recalling that their duty is to maintain security, not to kill civilians.
During the address, he cited a Quran verse about retribution in an apparent defence of security measures against protesters: "What is retribution? It's killing, is it not? It is execution. Our Lord described as life because it is a means of deterring others so that we can maintain security."
Al Bashir's statements about the reduction of the use of force and violence raised heated debates on social media.
Lawyers and doctors on strike
Members of the Sudanese Democratic Lawyers Front laid down their tools in Khartoum today in order to join the march organised by Sudanese Professionals Association.
The Sudanese doctors' strike in solidarity with Sudanese demonstrations has now entered its eighth day. On December 24, medics working in departments of cold cases in all states of Sudan stopped working. Coverage of emergency departments and injuries continued.
According to a statement by the Central Sudanese Doctors' Committee on Sunday, medics in more hospitals in the country are on strike, bringing the number of hospitals so far to 57.
The doctors have downed tools in solidarity with the mass public protests in the country. During the strike, they are treating emergency cases only, while many doctors have answered the call to assist civilians injured by government forces suppressing the gatherings.
The Sudanese Central Doctors' Committee pointed in a statement to the detention of a number of doctors in El Gedaref in eastern Sudan. They were threatened and beaten before they were released again.
A number of doctors are still being held by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), including Ahmed El Sheikh, Head of the Sudanese Doctors Syndicate, Najib Najmeldin, Deputy Head of the Syndicate, Ihsan Fagiri, Amal Jabrallah, Sayed El Khateeb, Ibrahim El Sheikh, Ashraf Widatallah and Hazim El Dirdeiri.