As of Tuesday, April 9, at least 21 people have been killed and over 150 others have been wounded around an ongoing sit-in protest outside the Sudanese defense ministry in Khartoum, according to sources affiliated with the political opposition. The demonstration began on Saturday, April 6, with protesters calling for the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir. National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) forces attempted to forcibly disperse the sit-in protesters early (local time) on Tuesday; previous NISS attempts to disperse the protesters have been met by resistance from Sudanese soldiers, some of whom have actively protected protesters. Police authorities have reportedly instructed their officers not to interfere with the sit-in protest outside the army headquarters. Also, notably, dozens of anti-government demonstrators reportedly blocked Nile Street in Khartoum early on Tuesday.
Heightened security measures and associated transportation disruptions are to be expected nationwide - notably in Khartoum, Khartoum North, and Omdurman - near demonstration sites over the coming hours and days. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Heavy gunfire was previously reported during sit-in protests in Khartoum on April 7-8.
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 the 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.
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 Khartoum, more generally Sudan, are advised to closely monitor the situation, avoid unnecessary travel, remain vigilant of their surroundings and be aware of possible spontaneous protest activities, adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments, and avoid all public gatherings and common demonstration sites due to the risk of violence and arrest.
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