Sudan: Protesters Escalate Demonstrations

The nation-wide protests that have begun in Sudan last December demanding the ouster of President Omar al-Beshir and his regime on Saturday escalated to the hugest ever numbers estimated by organizers at more than a million.

The organizers, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), chose April 6th in commemoration of the popular uprising that ousted Marshal Ja'afer Nimeiry in 1985 with the help of the army.

The Participants, in response to calls by the SPA and the opposition political parties, particularly the National Ummah Party of Sadek al-Mahdi, gathered from Omdurman, Khartoum North and Khartoum proper since midday on Saturday, thronging more than a kilometer by the road in front of the Armed Forces General Command in Khartoum east and remained there till Sunday morning.

The protesters chanted anti-government slogans and another slogan saying "One Army, One People", urging the army to support them like what it did on April sixth 1985 against Nimeiry and earlier in October 1964 when a similar upheaval overthrew General Ibrahim Abboud.

It was reported that a number of demonstrators entered the General Command and marched up to the residence of President Omar al-Beshir, reflecting tolerance by the army that took no effort to disperse the demonstrators, even stopped the police from doing this by using teargas.

Similar demonstrations were staged in different towns and villages across the Sudan on Saturday.

Reports on casualties ranged from one to five fatalities, with the police announcing in a statement that one demonstrator was killed and others of an unspecific number were injured in Omdurman, while witnesses put at three and others at five the number of the deaths during the demonstrations.

Witnesses also reported a large number of arrests were made by the police and security agents among the protesters, especially in Omdurman.

For his part, Government spokesman and Information Minister Hassan Ismail was quoted by the official Radio Omdurman on Sunday as praising the organized forces for the way in which they dealt with the demonstrations, a way which he said was appreciated by the citizens, insisting that government is adhered to dialogue as the only way to settle differences.

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