Middle East

Mourners rally after protester’s funeral in Sudan

Hundreds of mourners launched a spontaneous anti-government demonstration Friday as they returned from the funeral of a protester killed in a rally a day earlier in Sudan’s capital, witnesses said.

“We are not scared, we will not stop” the protesters shouted, as they took to the streets of Khartoum’s eastern district of Buri, the hub of an anti-government rally late on Thursday.

Video footage showed men and women, many wearing masks, shouting slogans against the government as a thick plume of smoke — resulting from burning tires and rubbish — billowed behind them.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, a group spearheading the anti-government rallies across Sudan, said that three people died in Thursday’s protests in Khartoum.

Late on Thursday a doctors’ committee linked to the SPA had said a child and doctor were killed during protests in the capital.

Mohamed al-Asbat, a spokesman for the association, told AFP from Paris on Friday morning that a third person had died.

Sudanese officials have not confirmed the three deaths and earlier put the overall toll from the violence since protests broke out on December 19 at 24.

Rights group Amnesty International last week said over 40 people have been killed in the unrest and more than 1,000 arrested.

The doctors’ committee said the child and medic were killed Thursday by “live ammunition” but did not specify who had fired the shots. It said other people had sustained bullet wounds.

The two deaths were confirmed to AFP by relatives of the victims.

A police spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Crowds of mourners had gathered earlier on Friday for the funeral of the third victim, witnesses said.

A witness said that mourners attacked a police car that arrived at the scene.

“The police had to leave the vehicle and flee,” the witness said.

Riot police on Thursday broke up a march of hundreds of people on the presidential palace in Khartoum chanting “freedom, peace, justice”, witnesses said.

People had also taken to the streets on Thursday 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 last month.

Later on Thursday, residents of Buri staged a separate demonstration, witnesses said, adding that there were clashes between them and riot police.

A government decision to raise the price of bread triggered the protests a month ago.

The rallies quickly escalated into broader demonstrations against President Omar al-Bashir’s three decades of iron-fisted rule, triggering clashes with the security forces.

The protests come as Sudan suffers from a chronic shortage of foreign currency and soaring inflation that has more than doubled the cost of food and medicines.

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