Hundreds of Sudanese protesters rallied on Thursday in Khartoum in support of fellow demonstrators detained in weeks of protests against President Omar al-Bashir’s iron-fisted rule, witnesses said.
The latest protest came after Bashir acknowledged that Sudan’s controversial public order law and growing economic hardships had angered youths and sent them out into the streets.
But the veteran leader said on Thursday that “enemies of Sudan” were funding a media campaign backing the demonstrators.
The rally was called to express solidarity with the hundreds of demonstrators who have been arrested since anti-government unrest erupted in December.
The protesters gathered in the downtown area of the capital, chanting their campaign’s rallying cry of “freedom, peace, justice”, witnesses said.
For almost two weeks a security clampdown had prevented them from converging in the central district.
“Bring all your soldiers but today you will fall,” chanted the protesters, witnesses said, adding that riot police swiftly confronted them with tear gas.
“The authorities thought we won’t be able to reach downtown,” a demonstrator told AFP without giving his name for security reasons.
“It has been difficult, but today we have managed to do it.”
Protesters also staged rallies in the capital’s eastern neighbourhood of Burri and some other areas in Khartoum, witnesses said.
Video footage and photographs were swiftly uploaded on social media networks, some showing demonstrators being taken away by security agents.