Faisal Mohamed Saleh, a columnist for Al-Akhbar newspaper, said: "This is a real step forward. But most of the people who are taking part today are journalists from independent newspapers."

In the past, only a few partisan newspapers have staged protests.

Sudan Journalists' Network

The 10 papers were planning to shut down again on Wednesday if other publications agreed to join in, said Saleh.

Reporters said the action had been driven by individual journalists who had approached their editors and management and persuaded them to pull their Tuesday editions.

The reporters are members of a recently formed Sudan Journalists' Network which is also campaigning for a new press law to enshrine press freedoms promised under a 2005 peace deal that ended the country's north-south civil war.

Journalists complain of nightly visits from security officers who instruct editors to remove sensitive articles from the next day's edition.