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Tens of thousands march on Sudan army headquarters

April 6, 2019

The demonstration was the largest in months, despite a government crackdown. The protesters are calling for an end to the 30-year-rule of President Omar al-Bashir.

Protestors in Khartoum
Image: Getty Images/AFP

Protestors in Sudan's capital of Khartoum made it to the army headquarters on Saturday, the farthest marchers have advanced since demonstrations began last year. The compound also contains the home of President Omar al-Bashir, whose nearly 30-year-rule the protestors are determined to end.

"Peace, justice, freedom!" the demonstrators chanted. As they reached the fortified walls of the army complex, organizers asked the tens of thousands of participants to stop and hold a sit-in.

"We appreciate that the army did not touch the protesters and we hope that it will take the side of the people," organizers said in a statement.

Ahead of the event, security forces were deployed in large numbers around the city, stopping passers-by from accessing certain parts of Khartoum.

Dozens killed since September

Although Saturday's protest was largely peaceful, dozens of people have been killed by police or soldiers since demonstrations first erupted in December. While official figures say that 31 people have died, Human Rights Watch says it believes at least 51 people have lost their lives, including children and medics.

On February 22, Bashir declared a state of emergency after an initial attempt at a crackdown failed to deter the protests in Khartoum.

Bashir came to power in June 1989 after leading a military coup against his predecessor Ahmad Ali al-Mirghani. He has been accused of genocide and war crimes, and recent economic policy has led to soaring food prices and fuel shortages.

es/jlw (AP, AFP)

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