FILE PHOTO: Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir delivers a speech at the Presidential Palace in Khartoum, Sudan February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File PhotoReuters
CAIRO (Reuters) – Hundreds of protesters chanted anti-government slogans after leaving prayers at a major mosque near Sudan’s capital on Friday, drawing tear-gas volleys from police, eyewitnesses said.
The demonstration in the city of Omdurman, which started outside Al-Sayed Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi mosque that has ties to the opposition Umma party, was the latest in a series of protests against President Omar al-Bashir.
The protests, which started on Dec. 19, have developed into the most persistent challenge to Bashir’s rule since he took power 30 years ago.
Crowds also gathered in several areas in the capital Khartoum after prayers, witnesses said. In the neighborhood of Burri, dozens chanted “the revolution is the choice of the people” and “fall, that’s it”, to send the message that their only demand is Bashir’s fall.
Last month Bashir declared a state of emergency, dissolved the central government, replaced state governors with security officials, expanded police powers and banned unlicensed public gatherings.
Emergency courts have since been trying protesters in evening sessions, sparking more rallies outside court buildings.
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court over charges of masterminding genocide in the Darfur region, which he denies. He has been lobbying for Sudan to be removed from a list of countries Washington considers state sponsors of terrorism.
The listing has blocked the investment and financial aid that Sudan was hoping for when the United States lifted sanctions in 2017, economists say.
Sudan has been rapidly expanding its money supply in an attempt to finance its budget deficit, causing spiraling inflation and a steep decline in the value of its currency.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz, writing by Lena Masri, editing by William Maclean)
Copyright 2019 Thomson Reuters.