Khartoum, Sudan | AFP | A doctor and a child were killed Thursday during protests in Sudan’s capital, organisers of the anti-government demonstrations said, as police dispersed a crowd of hundreds marching towards the presidential palace.
At least 26 people have died in protests that have rocked Sudan since they first erupted on December 19 after a government decision to raise the price of bread.
The rallies have since escalated into broader demonstrations against President Omar al-Bashir’s three decades of iron-fisted rule and triggered deadly clashes with the security forces.
Human rights groups have given a higher death toll, with Amnesty International saying that more than 40 people had been killed and over 1,000 arrested.
“One doctor and a child (have been) killed in today’s demonstrations,” the doctors’ committee, part of a protest movement spearheaded by the Sudanese Professionals Association, said in a statement late on Thursday.
The committee said the two were killed with “live ammunition” but did not specify who had fired the shots.
It also said that some other people had sustained gunshot wounds.
The deaths were confirmed to AFP by the relatives of the two victims.
Protesters staged a demonstration outside the hospital in Khartoum where their bodies were brought, witnesses said.
A police spokesman could not be reached immediately for comment.
Earlier, demonstrators chanting “freedom, peace, justice” had gathered in central Khartoum and began their march on the presidential palace but riot police quickly confronted them with tear gas, witnesses told AFP.
People also took to the streets in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan, in the provincial town of Gadaref and in the agricultural hub of Atbara, where the first protests broke out on December 19.
– Protesters pelt rocks –
After riot police broke up the march in downtown Khartoum, crowds of residents in the capital’s Buri district staged a new rally, witnesses said.
Protesters pelted rocks at riot police who in turn fired tear gas.
Video footage showed some protesters wounded but they were treated by fellow demonstrators.
People also took to the streets in the Khartoum’s northern district of Bahri, where burned tyres and piles of garbage blocked streets to traffic, witnesses said.
Three other protests were staged in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman.
The Sudanese Professionals Association said the response to Thursday’s call for protests had been “above expectations”.
“We are calling on the international community to protect peaceful demonstrators as we fear the authorities will use more violence,” Mohamed Al-Asbat, a spokesman for the association told AFP by telephone from Paris.