Sudanese rally on streets in protest as death toll mounts

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Rest of World
Sunday, 03 February 2019

Thousands of residents poured out onto the streets of Sudan’s eastern province of Kassala to denounce the death of a protester last week following demonstrations calling for the president’s ouster, officials and activists said.

The protester, Ahmed al-Khair, was a 33-year-old school teacher who was detained last Thursday and pronounced dead in custody on Friday evening. Protests have gripped Sudan since Dec 19, starting initially over rising prices and shortages but quickly shifting to calls for the fall of autocratic President Omar al-Bashir.
Activists said al-Khair’s death raises the toll of the protests to 53. An estimated 2,000 protesters have also since been wounded, many shot in the eye with birdshot and some losing limbs from live ammunition, according to the activists, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
The government’s latest tally stands at 30 killed and about 400 wounded, but these figures have not been updated in days. The authorities refused to provide a cause of death to al-Khair’s family, but his body, including his groin area, was covered in bruises, a relative of his said. There were also signs of rectal bleeding, according to a second relative, who said that the family intends to file charges against the police. They also spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
Al-Khair’s funeral quickly turned into a protest, with thousands chanting: “We are all Ahmed!” and “just fall”, the slogan and Twitter hashtag of the Dec 19 demonstrations.
Kassala’s police chief denied any police wrongdoing and blamed al-Khair’s death on an “illness”, without providing any details. The family, he said, attended an autopsy and “is completely sure that he was not touched or subjected to torture”. There were an additional 33 night protests planned for the night across Sudan, according to online activists.

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