Sudan police fire tear gas as protests erupt in Khartoum, Darfur

Death toll from protests rises to 24

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say at least 40 have been killed in the protests, initially sparked by price rises and shortages but soon shifted to calls on Sudan's longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir to step down.

On Sunday, protest organisers called for demonstrations in the capital Khartoum and other towns including Madani, Kosti and Dongola as part of what they have called a "Week of Uprising".

On Sunday, protesters in Khartoum were seen carrying the Sudanese flag as others held banners bearing the words "peace, justice, freedom", which has become a key slogan in the rallies.

Witnesses told AFP that police were pursuing protesters down Bahari's streets and alleys.

Darfur, a region the size of France, has been torn by violence since 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against Khartoum, accusing it of economic and political marginalisation.

Bashir, who seized power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, has been charged by the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) with genocide and war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur.

In a separate incident, witnesses said hundreds of demonstrators emerged from a mosque known to be affiliated to Bashir's government in Jabra neighbourhood in southern Khartoum while chanting: "The people want the fall of the regime".

In a joint statement on Tuesday last week, the United States, United Kingdom, Norway and Canada condemned the violence and said Sudan's "actions and decisions over the coming weeks will have an impact on the engagement of our governments and others in the coming months and years", referring to ongoing efforts by the USA and UK to normalise relations with Sudan.

Since Dec.19, Sudan has been rocked by nearly daily protests sparked by rising food prices and cash shortages amid a deepening financial crisis.

Repeated shortages of food and fuel have been reported in several cities, including Khartoum, while the cost of food and medicine has more than doubled.

The United States lifted 20-year-old trade sanctions on Sudan in October 2017, but many investors continue to shun a country still listed by Washington as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Last week, Sudanese security sources confirmed the presence of Wagner Russian military in the country and that they work with the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) but refused to speak about their activities in Sudan.

Sudan's economy was crippled when the south seceded in 2011, taking away much of its oil resources.

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