Anti-government demonstrators staged protests in Khartoum and Omdurman on Sunday, March 17, calling for President Omar al-Bashir to resign and usher in a transitional government. Some families participating in the protests in Khartoum gathered in front of the National Intelligence and Security Service building, demanding that relatives detained during the months-long protests be released. Security forces dispersed demonstrators in both cities with tear gas and arrested protesters in Omdurman.
Similar demonstrations are to be expected in these and other Sudanese cities over the coming days and weeks. Clashes between protesters and security forces, as well as transportation and business disruptions, are likely around demonstration sites.
Anti-government protests began on December 19, 2018, as hundreds of protesters gathered in major urban centers - notably Atbara (River Nile state), Al-Qadarif (Al-Qadarif state), Port Sudan (Red Sea state), Khartoum, and Al-Fashir and Nyala in Darfur region. Protesters initially demanded increased government transparency and economic reforms but have since broadened their scope to demand the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir, who has been in power since 1989 and has vowed not to step down until at least 2020. Human rights groups claim that over 50 people have been killed and 1000 others arrested since the protests began.
President Omar al-Bashir declared a one-year state of emergency on February 22, dissolved the cabinet, and dismissed all state governors; the length of the state of emergency was subsequently reduced to six months by parliamentary vote, and is expected to remain in effect until August 2019. Bashir also banned all unauthorized rallies and gatherings on February 25, following weeks of anti-government protests. Opposition leaders have defied the declaration and have called on supporters to continue protesting.
Individuals in Sudan are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all protests and public gatherings due to the risk of violence and arrest, anticipate disruptions to transportation and business near demonstration sites, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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