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Sudan doctors hold silent demo to protest medic’s killing

By AFP - Jan 21,2019 - Last updated at Jan 21,2019

Sudanese demonstrators burn tyres as they participate in anti-government protests in Omdurman, Khartoum, Sudan, on Sunday (Reuters photo)

KHARTOUM —  About 150 doctors held a silent sit-in on Monday outside a hospital in Sudan’s capital to protest the killing of a medic during anti-government protests in Khartoum last week, witnesses said.

Deadly protests have rocked Sudan since December 19 after a government decision to triple the price of bread.

The demonstrations, which quickly morphed into nationwide rallies against President Omar Al Bashir’s three decades of rule, have left 26 people dead so far, according to officials.

Rights group Amnesty International has put the death toll at more than 40.

The medic was killed on Thursday during clashes between protesters and security forces in the capital’s eastern district of Burri, according to a doctors’ committee linked to the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which is leading the protest movement.

On Monday, doctors, some dressed in white medical coats, staged a silent sit-in outside the Ahmed Al Gassib Hospital, where the medic worked.

Carrying placards that read “killing a doctor means killing a nation,” they stood in silence as security personnel deployed around the hospital, witnesses said.

On Friday, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty’s deputy director for east Africa, said it was an “outrage that Sudanese security forces continue to use lethal force on protesters and key service providers like doctors”.

But Bashir rejected the accusations.

“The doctor who was killed in Burri was killed by a weapon that did not belong to the army, or NISS, or police,” Bashir said at a rally in the state of White Nile on Sunday, referring to the country’s feared National Intelligence and Security Service.

“He was killed by someone from among the demonstrators.”

Although the protests began against the cutting of a vital bread subsidy, they come at a time when Sudan suffers from an economic crisis driven by an acute shortage of foreign currency and soaring inflation that has more than doubled the price of food and medicines.

The SPA has called for night-time demonstrations on Tuesday in Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman.

More rallies were also planned for Thursday “across all towns and cities of Sudan”, the group announced last week.

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