KHARTOUM: Security forces arrested 14 professors who were gathering to protest outside Khartoum University on Tuesday, witnesses said, as anti-government demonstrations neared the end of their eighth week.
Doctors also rallied outside state and private hospitals in Sudan’s capital and other cities against the rule of President Omar Al-Bashir, witnesses added.
Union members, students, opposition activists and others, frustrated with economic hardships, have held near daily protests since Dec. 19, 2018, in the most sustained challenge to Al-Bashir’s three decades in power.
Photos posted online on Tuesday showed people holding banners marked with “Freedom, justice and peace,” “No to torturing and killing protesters” and other slogans.
Rights groups say at least 45 people have been killed in the protests since they began on Dec. 19, while the government puts the death toll at 31.
Bashir has blamed the unrest on unnamed foreign powers and showed no signs of bowing to demands to quit. But he and some senior officials have adopted a more conciliatory tone in recent weeks and promised to free detained protesters.
On Sunday, police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of Sudanese protesters who marched on a women’s prison in Omdurman calling for the release of detainees arrested in anti-government protests, witnesses said.
“We are fighters, we will complete our mission,” protesters chanted as women ululated and men flashed the victory sign, according to the witnesses.
The protesters called for the release of women arrested in ongoing demonstrations against Al-Bashir’s rule, the witnesses said.
The march was called by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which is spearheading the protest campaign.
The SPA, an umbrella body of doctors, engineers and teachers, called Sunday’s march a “Rally for Women Detainees.”
“Women are taking the lead in the protest movement,” a female protester taking part in Sunday’s rally said without revealing her name for security reasons.