A Sudanese group that has spearheaded anti-government demonstrations since last month called Friday for nationwide protests next week to pile pressure on the government of President Omar al-Bashir. The demonstrations that erupted on Dec. 19 over a government decision to triple the price of bread have swiftly escalated into broader protests that are widely seen as the biggest threat to Bashir's rule in three decades in power.
"We will launch a week of uprising with demonstrations in every Sudanese town and village," the Sudanese Professionals' Association said. The group called for a major rally in Khartoum North on Sunday, to be followed by further demonstrations in the capital during the week.
Over the course of the past three weeks, demonstrations have rocked several Sudanese states amid mounting public frustration. The government has acknowledged that the protests started peacefully but said they turned violent when saboteurs infiltrated them. It has imposed emergency law in parts of Sudan along with nighttime curfews. Authorities also suspended classes in schools and universities across much of the country. Sudanese authorities say at least 19 people have been killed in street demonstrations against rising prices and shortages of basic commodities that swept several Sudanese states earlier this month. Opposition groups, for their part, say the death toll is closer to 40. A nation of 40 million, Sudan has struggled to recover from the loss of three-quarters of its oil output – its main source of foreign currency – when South Sudan seceded in 2011.
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