Sudanese protesters chant anti-government slogans during a demonstration in the capital Khartoum on Jan 6, 2019. (Photo: AFP)

KHARTOUM - AFP
Sudan organisers urge nationwide protests next week

A Sudanese group that has spearheaded anti-government demonstrations since last month called on Friday (Jan 11) for nationwide protests next week to pile pressure on the government of President Omar al-Bashir.

The demonstrations that erupted on Dec 19 over a government decision to triple the price of bread have swiftly escalated into broader protests that are widely seen as the biggest threat to Bashir's rule in three decades in power.

"We will launch a week of uprising with demonstrations in every Sudanese town and village," the Sudanese Professionals' Association said.

The group called for a major rally in Khartoum North on Sunday, to be followed by further demonstrations in the capital during the week.

The association, which has mobilised its membership to keep up the momentum of the protests, has already called for a rally after midday prayers on Friday in the eastern town of Atbara, where the demonstrations began.

At least 22 people have been killed during the protests, including two security personnel, according to the authorities.

Human rights groups have put the death toll much higher. Human Rights Watch said on Monday that at least 40 people had been killed, including children and medical staff.

Analysts say the challenge now for organisers is to get protesters onto the street in numbers.

"Right now, some of the opposition groups and trade unions are trying to mobilise more protests, and probably they are thinking of how to escalate," said Matt Ward, senior Africa analyst at Oxford Analytica.

"But so far there hasn't been an escalation, they are persistent but they haven't risen in intensity in a significant way."

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