Sudan: 19 killed, over 200 injured in protests

Authorities say at least 19 killed in protests against bread prices as Egypt offers Sudan's government its support.

    The protests began across Sudan on December 19 [Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]
    The protests began across Sudan on December 19 [Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]

    At least 19 people have been killed in clashes between Sudanese anti-riot police and protesters in demonstrations triggered by a rise in bread prices, according to a government official.

    Speaking on state television on Thursday, Boshara Juma, government spokesperson, said: "Nineteen people lost their lives in the incidents including two from security forces". 

    At least 219 others were wounded, he added. 

    Sudanese authorities had previously said eight people have been killed in clashes in Khartoum and several other cities since the protests began on December 19.

    However, rights group Amnesty International on Monday put the death toll at 37

    181224114651302

    Protests initially started in towns and villages and later spread to Khartoum, as people rallied against the government tripling the price of a loaf of bread from one Sudanese pound to three ($0.02 to $0.06).

    Demonstrators have also been marching against Sudan's dire economic situation and some have called for President Omar al-Bashir's resignation.

    Doctors and journalists have launched a strike in support of the protests.

    Police and security officers remained deployed in several parts of the Sudanese capital on Thursday, but no new demonstrations were held. 

    Egypt pledges support

    Meanwhile, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, during a visit to Khartoum on Thursday, voiced support for Bashir and his government saying Cairo was "confident that Sudan will overcome the present situation".

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Bashir at the presidential palace, Shoukry said the "stability of Sudan means (the) stability of Egypt". 

    "Egypt is always ready to support Sudan and the ability of Sudanese people as per the government of Sudan's vision and policies," said Shoukry, who was visiting the Sudanese capital alongside Cairo's intelligence chief General Abbas Kamel. 

    The minister's comments were the first remarks by a top regional Arab official in support of Bashir's government since protests began.

    After the protests erupted, Bashir, who has been in power since a 1989 coup, vowed to "take real reforms" to tackle the country's financial difficulties.

    Sudan is grappling with an acute foreign currency crisis, soaring inflation, and shortages of bread and fuel despite the lifting of an economic embargo by the US in October 2017.

    But activists and opposition groups continued to call on people to take to the streets again.

    "We urge the Sudanese people to continue their demonstrations until success is achieved by overthrowing the regime," the Sudanese Communist Party said in a statement on Thursday.

    Several members of the party have been arrested by security agents since the protests started.

    "We also call on all opposition parties to unite and work together to coordinate this movement," it added.

    INSIDE STORY: Is it Sudan's version of the Arab Spring? (24:20)

    SOURCE: News agencies