Medical students at the University of Gadarif in eastern Sudan joined doctors at a central hospital on Wednesday to demand that President Omar al-Bashir step down, as anti-government protests entered their eighth day.
Sudanese doctors, who launched a strike on Monday to protest the government, called on members of other professions to join the nationwide work stoppage.
The medical students chanted slogans against the government as they left their university campus and entered the nearby hospital, witnesses told Al Jazeera.
Is it Sudan’s version of the Arab Spring?
Security forces responded by cordoning off the hospital, reported activists.
“The protest staged by Gadarif’s medical students and doctors is part of the wave of demonstrations that have continued throughout this week,” Al Jazeera’s Altaher al-Mardi reported from Khartoum.
“The students and doctors expressed their support for their fellow demonstrators and their condemnation of the government’s use of force against them,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Sudanese Doctors’ Association released a statement saying nine protesters had been injured during demonstrations in the capital city of Khartoum on Tuesday. One of the protesters is in critical condition, according to the statement.
Riot police in Khartoum had used live ammunition and tear gas in an attempt to disperse protesters marching towards the presidential palace on Tuesday. Videos posted online appeared to show crowds of several hundred people heading towards the palace.
Also on Wednesday, an umbrella coalition of independent professional unions said a protester injured in anti-government demonstrations had died of his wounds, reported Associated Press. The victim, identified as Abuzar Ahmed, was reportedly shot in the head last week in Gadarif.
The coalition had called for a nation-wide work stoppage on Monday, after doctors began an indefinite strike. Striking doctors have refused to work – except to treat emergency cases – in a bid to bring the government to a standstill.
At least 12 protesters have been killed since demonstrations decrying price hikes and wider economic woes gripped the country since December 19.The protests have since escalated into calls for al-Bashir to step down.
Amnesty International said it had “credible reports” that Sudanese police have killed 37 protesters since the protests began.
Probe into killings
Meanwhile, Sudan’s top Islamist party, a member of Bashir’s government, called for a probe into the killings of protesters in demonstrations.
At a press conference in Khartoum, Popular Congress Party senior official Idris Suleman said his party’s own reports indicated that 17 people “were martyred” and 88 wounded in the demonstrations.
Condemning the killings, the party urged the authorities to find those responsible.
“We call on the government to launch an investigation into the killings,” Suleman said.
“Those who committed these killings must be held accountable.”
Police and security officers remained deployed in several parts of the Sudanese capital on Wednesday.
Bashir has sought to clamp down on the protests by vowing to “take real reforms” to solve Sudan’s economic woes.
But his statements appear to have done little to appease protesters angered by financial hardships.
Sudan is mired in economic difficulties including an acute foreign currency shortage and soaring inflation.
The crisis has worsened despite the lifting of an economic embargo by the United States in October 2017.
Inflation is running at close to 70 percent and the Sudanese pound has plunged in value, while shortages in bread and fuel have been reported across several cities including Khartoum.
Since the start of the protest movement, Sudanese authorities had arrested several anti-government figures with liberal and communist backgrounds.