Thousands of Sudanese protesters demand president Al-Bashir resignation

Thousands of protesters on Thursday took to the streets in several parts of Sudan demanding President Omar al-Bashir step down.

Thursday’s mass demonstrations were in defiance of a state of emergency, imposed last week, which bans unapproved demonstrations or public gatherings.

Riot police and security forces tried to break up the protests with tear gas in various cities, several witnesses said.

In the town of Burri, in Khartoum State, security forces beat and arrested protesters, a resident said.

On Feb. 19,  security forces arrested at least twelve opposition leaders ahead of a planned protest against the regime of al-Bashir in the capital, Khartoum.

The East African nation has seen ongoing protests for several weeks, since a sharp hike in bread and fuel prices caused a public outcry.

In early January, the Interior Ministry said more than 800 demonstrators had been arrested.

While the Sudanese government confirmed the deaths of 29 protesters, human rights organisations say dozens of people have been killed in clashes with security forces.

The oil-rich country’s economy was badly affected when it split with South Sudan in 2011, and the government is currently facing an economic crisis while also battling several rebel groups. (Xinhua/NAN)