Sudan forces fire tear gas at protesters trying to deliver anti-government petition
KHARTOUM - 3 January 2019: Sudanese security forces on Thursday fired tear gas to disperse protesters who were trying to deliver an anti-government petition to the local headquarters of President Omar al-Bashir's ruling party in Port Sudan, a witness said.
More than 200 people took part in the demonstration, which broke up before the protesters reached the building.
Sudan has been hit by a series of protests triggered by price increases and shortages of cash and fuel following months of worsening economic conditions. Many protesters have called for an end to Bashir's rule.
Security forces have blocked and broken up demonstrations using live ammunition as well as tear gas and stun grenades, witnesses say. They have also detained some protesters and opposition figures.
Earlier on Thursday, Bashir said in a speech the government was looking into handing out pay rises, starting this month, but he did not say by how much salaries would increase.
The protesters in Port Sudan, on the Red Sea, represented a group of political parties who want Bashir to dissolve the government and form a transitional administration that would set a date for elections.
Signatories to the petition include the Umma Party, led by opposition figure Mubarak al-Fadil al-Mahdi, the Reform Now Movement, and the Democratic Unionist Party.
The petition also calls for the investigation of alleged abuses by security forces during two weeks of anti-government demonstrations across Sudan.
Bashir and the head of Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Service have called for restraint in the response to the protests, which officials have blamed on infiltrators.