Sudanese army deploys troops in front of headquarters in Khartoum

The Sudanese army on Monday deployed troops around its headquarters in Khartoum, in front of which thousands of protesters gathered for the third consecutive day to demand the resignation of President Omar el-Bashir, according to witnesses.

Since the crackdown broke out in Sudan on December 19, the army has not interfered in the crackdown on protesters led by the powerful intelligence service (NISS) and the riot police.

On Monday, soldiers set up barricades in several streets near the army headquarters to prevent vehicles from coming in, according to the witnesses.

Earlier in the morning, vehicles carrying members of the NISS and riot police also took positions near the army headquarters, according to witnesses.

These security forces "then started firing tear gas at protesters," a witness said on condition of anonymity.

Shots were also heard but their origin could not be identified.

"The regime's security forces are trying to disperse the sit-in by force," the Alliance for Change and Freedom said in its statement Monday.

Thousands of men and women have held since Saturday the biggest rally ever since the start of the protest in December, some camping in front of the complex that houses the headquarters of the army and the Ministry of Defense, not far from the residence of the president.

The organizers of the protest called in a statement the inhabitants of the capital and surrounding areas to join the protesters after saying Saturday "hope that (the army) take a stand for the people".

In previous rallies, protesters had repeatedly tried to walk to symbolic places of power, such as the presidential palace, but were often prevented by tear gas fired by security forces.

Triggered on December 19 by the government's decision to triple the price of bread in a difficult economic context, the protests quickly turned into a protest against Mr. Bashir, who has ruled the country since a coup in 1989.

He has refused to resign and faces his biggest challenge since coming to power, experts say. After attempting to quell the challenge by force, he declared a state of emergency throughout the country on 22 February. The mobilization had since dropped significantly before the day of Saturday.

Since the beginning of the movement, 32 people have died, according to the authorities. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported at least 51 deaths.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

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