Clashes erupt as Sudanese march on presidential palace

Police use tear gas and fire in the air to disperse thousands of protesters attempting to march on the presidential palace to demand that Omar Bashir, Sudan’s president of 29 years, step down, according to activists and video clips posted online.

The clips purport to show crowds of several hundred each gathering on side roads and headed toward the palace on the bank of the Blue Nile in the heart of Khartoum. They sing patriotic songs and chant “freedom,” ”peaceful, peaceful against the thieves” and “the people want to bring down the regime.” The latter was the most popular slogan of the 2010 and 2011 Arab Spring revolts.

Large numbers of security forces are deployed across much of Khartoum in anticipation of the march, with soldiers riding in all-terrain vehicles. Police fire in the air, use tear gas and hit demonstrators with batons to disperse them, only for the crowds to assemble again and try and continue their march in pitched battles. There are no immediate reports of casualties.

The protest was called by an umbrella of independent professional unions and supported by the country’s largest political parties, the Umma and Democratic Nationalist. The organizers want to submit a petition demanding that Bashir, in power since he seized power in a 1989 military coup, step down.


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