Protesters in Sudan are trying to imitate the Arab Spring uprisings that shook the region in 2011, President Omar al-Bashir said on Sunday during a visit to Egypt.
Bashir is facing the most sustained challenge as demonstrators have turned out almost daily across the country to call for an end to his rule. His trip to neighboring Egypt is his second foreign visit since unrest began on Dec. 19. He has also visited Qatar.
Speaking next to his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Bashir blamed unidentified "harmful organizations" for working to destabilize the region. "We do not claim there is no problem, but it is not of the size or dimensions that some of the media portray." "This is an attempt to copy the Arab Spring in Sudan, these are the same slogans and appeals and the very wide use of social media sites."
Citing what he said was the "harmful agitation" that countries affected by the Arab Spring witnessed, he added: "The Sudanese people are alert and will not allow for any intrusion or attempt to destabilize the security of Sudan."
In Khartoum, authorities tried to disperse a number of sit-ins taking place in public squares in response to an appeal from a professionals' association that has led calls for protests.
Security forces fired tear gas canisters at protesters gathered in at least four of the sit-ins, while in others demonstrators tried to block side streets leading to the main squares with rocks and other materials.