Hundreds of demonstrators marched on the Presidential Palace in Khartoum on Tuesday, December 25, to call for the fall of the regime. Security forces used tear gas and live munitions to disperse the crowds, injuring dozens. International monitoring groups claim as many as 37 protesters have died since the movement began on December 19, although it is unclear if any fatalities were reported during Tuesday's unrest.
The protests, organized by a coalition of unofficial labor unions and civil society groups, are employing the use of slogans from the 2010-11 Arab Spring revolts to demand that President Omar Bashir step down. The group attempted to deliver a petition to the president on Tuesday when clashes broke out between security forces and protesters. In a televised address, Bashir blamed the country's economic situation on foreign powers and indicated he would remain in power. Further protests and associated incidents of violence are possible in the coming days and weeks despite the heightened security measures.
Anti-government protests broke out on December 19 as hundreds of protesters gathered in major urban centers - notably in Atbara (Nile River state), Al-Qadarif (Al-Qadarif state), Port Sudan (Red Sea state), and Khartoum - initially to demand increased government transparency and the implementation of anti-inflation measures. Police forces reportedly used tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the protesters in several instances. As unrest spread, curfews were implemented in at least eight cities, including in Kosti and Rabak (White Nile state), Al-Qadarif (Al-Qadarif state), Atbara, Al-Damir, and Berber (all River Nile state), as well as in Dongola and Karima (Northern state).
Cities throughout Sudan have been experiencing bread, fuel, and cash shortages. The current shortages come as the economy continues to suffer from surging inflation, which reached 68.93 percent in November. Various protests have taken place in Sudanese cities since early January 2018 due to price hikes, notably in Khartoum, Khartoum North, and Omdurman. The government has begun to implement a number of broad-based economic reforms in line with recommendations from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in an attempt to stabilize the economy and foster growth. For example, on October 7, the government ordered the devaluation of the Sudanese pound compared to the US dollar, the third such devaluation since early 2018; the exchange rate is now SDG 47.6 to USD 1, compared to SDG 6.7 to USD 1 in 2017.
Individuals in Sudan are advised to monitor the situation, obey all instructions issued by the local authorities (including curfew orders), and avoid all protests as a precaution.
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