Many of the thousands of Sudanese demonstrators marching in Khartoum Saturday reached the country’s military’s headquarters for the first time since deadly anti-government protests erupted nearly four months ago.
After protesters began rallying on the streets of the capital city Khartoum, many heeded a call by organizers to converge on the military’s headquarters, located near the residence of President Omar al-Bashir.
Protesters also reached the army’s building in the east central Sudanese city of Madani, witnesses told AFP.
The protests began on December 19, with demonstrators accusing Bashir’s government of economic mismanagement that has sparked skyrocketing food prices, and fuel and foreign currency shortages.
Bashir imposed a nationwide state of emergency on February 22 in an attempt to suppress the protests after an initial crackdown failed. The government said weeks ago that 31 people had been killed, but the group Physicians for Human Rights estimates the death toll is at least 60.
The government continues to enforce tough measures that have resulted in the arrests of protesters, opposition leaders and journalists.
Since the state of emergency took effect, protests have largely been confined to Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman. But on Saturday organizers called for more rallies and a march on the military’s headquarters.
The protest movement was first spearheaded by the Sudanese Professionals Association but later won the support of several political parties, including the main opposition party, the National Umma Party.
Protest organizers chose April 6 for nationwide rallies because it was on that date in 1985 when a military uprising led to the overthrow of the government of President Jaafar Nimeiri in a bloodless coup.
After an elected government was in place for a few years, Bashir, a career army officer, toppled the leadership in a 1989 coup with the support of Islamist hardliners.
Source: Voice of America