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Doctor and child killed during protests in Sudan

Protests in Sudan calling for the resignation of President Bashir have resulted in the death of a doctor and a child. 

Protests occurred in several cities across Sudan on Thursday but police were reported to have fired tear gas and live ammunition on demonstrates who tried to march on the presidential palace, in the capital, Khartoum. 

The death of the doctor and child was first reported by the Sudan Doctors' Committee, a group linked to the opposition. The death has also since been confirmed to the AFP news agency by relatives of the victims.

The AFP reports that journalists saw many security personnel alongside the expected route of the march whilst in plain clothes. Outside the palace there were several army vehicles and mounted with machine guns. 

Whilst initially in response to the raised costs of basic essentials such as bread, the protests have since evolved into a broader movement against Bashir’s regime. 

Protests also occurred in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan, the provincial town of Gadaref and in the agricultural hub of Atbara, where the first protests broke out in December 2018, in response to the government raising bread prices. 

The demonstrations are noted as “the longest wave of protests against the government since the country's independence” by Al Jazeera reports. 

Bashar came to power in 1989 but since then his government has been accused of mismanaging the economy and overly funding the military.  

Sudan suffers from a shortage of foreign currency since separation of South Sudan in 2011 which triggered an inflation crisis with the cost of food and medicine more than doubling and frequent shortages in major cities such as Khartoum. With the separation of South Sudan, Sudan also saw a significant loss in oil reserves as South Sudan took the lion’s share.

Official statistics note that at least 24 people have been killed since the December protests but human rights group report that over 40 have been killed and more than a thousand arrested. This included children and medical staff. Bashir has responded call on the police to employ “less force”.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has condemned the "repressive response" to the demonstrations. She has also called upon Sudan to protect the rights of protesters including free expression and peaceful assembly. 

"The government needs to ensure that security forces handle protests in line with the country's international human rights obligations by facilitating and protecting the right to peaceful assembly," said Bachelet.

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