Protest death toll rises to 22 in Sudan
Anti-government protests in Sudan have left 22 people dead, according to the authorities on Thursday.
Iran Press/Africa: Three demonstrators died just hours after thousands of supporters cheered President Omar al-Bashir at a rally in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. Thursday's protest in the city of Omdurman was particularly bloody, according to an AFP report.
Protests in parts of Sudan on December 24 after the government hiked the price of a loaf of bread from one Sudanese pound to three (about $0.02 to $0.06)
Wednesday's competing rallies in the capital followed weeks of angry street protests over a government decision to triple the price of bread at a time when the country faces an acute shortage of foreign currency and soaring inflation.
Hundreds of protesters who have repeatedly called on president Bashir to step down marched in the capital's twin city of Omdurman chanting 'Freedom, Peace, Justice' and 'Revolution is the people's choice'.
But they were quickly confronted with tear gas fired by riot police.
On Thursday, police confirmed that three of the protesters had died in the Omdurman demonstration, but did not specify the cause of death.
"An illegal gathering was held in Omdurman and police dispersed it with tear gas," police spokesman Hashim Abdelrahim said in a statement.
He added: "Police later received reports that three protesters had died and several (were) injured; We are now investigating these reports."
The total death toll in continuing protests has now risen to 22 including two security personnel, according to official figures.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said on Monday that at least 40 people had been killed including children, citing Sudanese activists and medical workers.
A group of doctors at the hospital said police fired tear gas canisters at the facility.
"There was also shooting inside the hospital," the group said in a statement, without specifying who had opened fire.
President Bashir and others have blamed violence at the nearly month-long-protests on what government calls 'thugs' and 'conspirators'. 208/ 211 /103