Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused Sunday "infiltrators" of killing anti-government protesters in order to incite strife, denying that his forces were involved in any attacks.
During an annual gathering of Sufi sects at al-Kireida area, he vowed to respect the will of the people in the 2020 elections.
“We tell the youth that the country is your country and the future is your future. Next year’s elections are not far off and we will respect the people’s choice.”
“The youth went out to express themselves but sabotaging forces hid among them and created chaos,” Bashir added.
He said: “We have arrested rebels in Darfur who admitted to killing protesters. Investigations have proven that the death of protesters has been executed by infiltrators who want chaos.”
He admitted the country is going through an economic crisis, however, he blamed it on the “economic, media and diplomatic blockade, as well as war and rebellion.”
“The Sudanese people decide who rules them," he asserted, adding that this decision is made through the ballot boxes.
“We have a year until 2020. After a year, the Sudanese people will decide who will rule them.”
"We stand by the choice of the Sudanese people. We respect people's choice. We gave power to citizens to choose their...MPs and their government... through free elections,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, police used tear gas to prevent protesters from marching towards the parliament in Omdurman who were calling for the president and government’s resignation.
Shortly after the main demonstrations were dispersed, protesters staged smaller rallies in neighborhoods and alleys.
Before the protests began, police fired tear gas at people in the streets to prevent their gathering. Witnesses said the demonstrators ignored the police and organized a march chanting: "Freedom, Peace, Justice" and then dispersed to the demonstrations inside neighborhoods.
Police and security services heavily fired tear gas in Omdurman, detained dozens of demonstrators and took them to unknown destinations, while gunshots were heard in several areas, according to witnesses.
Near Bashir’s residence in the Kafouri district of Khartoum, demonstrators gathered outside the home of doctor Babeker Abdul Hamid, who was shot dead by police on Thursday. They have been blocking the road leading to his house for the past two days.
Students at the National Ribat University organized a protest, which the police dispersed amid unconfirmed reports about the suspension of the university's classes.
Doctors in several cities held protests, which began with a work strike, as teachers, lawyers and pharmacists continued their protests.
Meanwhile, the Sudanese Doctors Committee, linked to anti-government protests, apologized for incorrectly reporting that a child had been killed in Thursday’s demonstrations.
Authorities said that two people were killed in last week’s protests, but the organizers put the figure at three.
Since December 10, 26 people have been killed by security forces, according to official numbers, but Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch cited reliable sources and announced that the number reached 40, including children and doctors.
Opposition parties accuse “unregulated” brigades, affiliated with First Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, of carrying out widespread violations against demonstrators and using live ammunition. Taha had threatened the opposition with the brigades’ readiness to sacrifice lives to preserve the regime.
The Sudanese Professionals Association that is leading the protest movement called for new demonstrations throughout the week, and announced that the capital and Omdurman will witness night demonstrations on Tuesday, and that Thursday will witness marches across Sudan.
In addition, the Democratic Lawyers Alliance announced that all lawyers in Khartoum and the various states of Sudan will begin a two-day work strike on Monday in all of the country’s courts and government bodies.
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