7 killed in 2 days of Sudan’s ongoing protests: Interior minister
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7 killed in 2 days of Sudan’s ongoing protests: Interior minister

In a statement, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, Sudanese Interior Minister Bishara Jumaa said six people were killed during protests in the country’s capital of Khartoum on Saturday and Sunday, and one more died in the western region of Darfur. Jumaa also said 15 civilians and 42 members of the security forces were injured in the anti-government rallies, adding that 2,496 protesters were arrested in Khartoum. On Saturday, thousands of Sudanese people launched the biggest anti-government rally since protests first erupted in December last year, marching on the residence of President Omar al-Bashir and calling for his resignation. Security forces fired tear gas and clashed with the protesters, arresting a number of them. On Sunday, the protesters gathered outside the presidential compound, which also houses the defense ministry and the army headquarters, chanting slogans against Bashir's government. Some protesters blocked a nearby bridge linking Khartoum with the northern Bahari district with rocks, causing huge traffic jams. The move prompted the Sudanese riot police to use teargas to disperse the crowd. Sudan has been the scene of frequent protests since December, when the government tried to raise bread prices. The initial public display of anger over the bread price hike spiraled into calls for 75-years-old Bashir, who took power in 1989 through a military coup, to step down. In an attempt to further quell the rallies, the embattled president declared on February 22 a state of emergency across the African country, dissolved the central government, replaced state governors with security officials, boosted police powers and prohibited unauthorized public demonstrations. The slew of measures, however, failed to appease the demonstrators. Sudan protesters seek talks with army on 'transition' The Alliance for Freedom and Change, the Sudanese group spearheading months-long protests against the 75-year-old embattled president, called on the army on Monday to hold direct talks with demonstrators about forming a transitional government. "We call on the Sudanese armed forces to talk directly with the Alliance for Freedom and Change for facilitating the peaceful process of forming a transitional government," Omar el-Digeir, a senior member of the group, said in a statement. Digeir said the protest organizers had also formed a council to start talks with security forces and the international community, which was aimed at reaching an agreement on a political transition that would give power to a "transitional government that represents the wish of the revolution.” "We also call on the Sudanese armed forces to withdraw their support for a regime that has lost its legitimacy," Digeir said. "We call on the Sudanese armed forces to support the Sudanese people's alternative for a transition to a civilian democratic government." The call comes as anti-government protests are underway for a third day in the capital. Sudan army deploys as protesters keep pressure on Bashir           Witnesses said on Monday that Sudan’s army had stationed troops around its headquarters in Khartoum, blocking several roads leading to the complex, the most heavily-guarded one in the country. Thousands of protesters have been holding a sit-in outside the complex since Saturday, calling on the military to back their calls for the president’s resignation. Sudan has been suffering from a worsening economic crisis, including a serious shortage of foreign currency. The cost of some commodities, including medicines, has more than doubled and inflation has hit 70 percent. A growing lack of food and fuel has also been regularly reported across several cities, including in the capital.

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